Reprinted with permission from “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon.

Makes 4 servings

2 cups canola or vegetable oil

2 frozen adult Texas brown, Chilean rose, or similar-sized tarantulas, thawed

1 cup tempura batter (see recipe)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

In a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

With a sharp knife, sever and discard the abdomens from the 2 tarantulas. Singe off any of the spider’s body hairs with a crème brûlée torch or butane cigarette lighter.

Dip each spider into the tempura batter to thoroughly coat. Use a slotted spoon or your hands to make sure each spider is spread-eagled (so to speak) and not clumped together before dropping it into the hot oil.

Deep-fry the spiders, 1 at a time, until the batter is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Remove each spider from the oil and place it on paper towels to drain.

Use a sharp knife to cut each spider in 2 lengthwise. Sprinkle with the paprika and serve. Encourage your guests to try the legs first and, if still hungry, to nibble on the meat-filled mesothorax, avoiding the spider’s paired fangs, which are tucked away in the head region.

TEMPURA BATTER

1 medium egg

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl until smooth. Slowly add the cold water, continuing to beat until evenly mixed. Add the flour and baking soda and beat gently until combined; the batter should be a bit lumpy.

Let the batter sit at room temperature while heating the oil.