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Awful Edible Roasted Fleshworms

This is a method (two, actually) of making a Halloween food item of something I call "Fleshworms".

Fleshworms look like something from a horror or sci-fi movie. These are pretty easy to make, and they are quite tasty! Perfect for part of a Halloween supper, because they're also quite revolting. It's all in the presentation.

What Exactly Are These?

Picture awful, fleshy worms with vicious mouthes and teeth - worms that look like something you'd find chewing on a corpse, right before it hisses at you and lunges for your face. Picture giant, horror-show mutant maggots. Now picture the fact that someone captured these things and roasted them in the oven to serve at supper! That's what I'm going to show you how to do.

But that's not all! These things are all about the presentation, but I also respect and enjoy cooking good food - so this thing is not only completely edible, but it's actually tasty too!

Why Make Such a Thing?

I like working with food, and I like Halloween! A particular interest of mine is making food that appears disgusting or awful, but is actually perfectly edible. This recipe as well can be used alone as a dish, or as part of a larger theme, like an entire Cannibal-Themed Halloween Supper I made.

How To Make Awful Edible Fleshworms

To make Roasted Awful Edible Fleshworms you'll need a few things. I have two methods of making them - one involves ham and slightly easier cooking, the other requires bacon and more work to prepare. They give similar results but I think the bacon one has a slight edge in looks and flavor.

Both methods require the same basic preparation and handling. A strip of pork tenderloin is wrapped in Prosciutto Ham (just the stuff from the deli counter at the supermarket - no need to get all food-snobbish here) and baked, or a strip of tenderloin is wrapped in strip-style Bacon, then frozen (more on why later), then roasted.

Both are finished off with some high-heat broiling to give the desired amount of "charred/crusty" look to the worm. Then the mouth is cut out and the teeth are inserted. Then the worm is given any final presentation touches that may be necessary.

Method 1 - Using Prosciutto Ham

You will need:

  • Strip of Pork Tenderloin (This is a boneless strip of meat whose worm-like shape will be useful.)

  • About 75g - 100g of sliced Prosciutto, depending on the size of your worm. Normal sandwich-slice thickness will be fine - about 1.5mm - 2mm thick.

  • 1 stick of uncooked spaghetti.

  • Small, sharp knife.

The Prosciutto is on the left, the Pork Tenderloin on the right. The Prosciutto will be the "skin" and the tenderloin will be the "body" of the worm-to-be.

Step 1 - Wrap the Tenderloin with the Prosciutto

Start at the "head" end of what will be the worm, and wrap the strips of ham at a slight angle so they overlap as they wind their way down the tenderloin. Make sure they overlap, and as you get to the end of one strip add another one before you get to the end, so the end of one strip overlaps the beginning of the next by at least a good inch. Handling the worm will shift the ham a little, and the ham is a little fragile. Also, in cooking the ham will shrink somewhat - the last thing you want is for the "skin" not to cover all the tenderloin, so if in doubt wrap and overlap more, rather than less.

Be sure to wrap a little over and past the ends.

Step 2 - Cooking

Place the worm into a roasting pan and stick it into the oven - which has been pre-heated to 350 degrees. (If you forgot to pre-heat the oven, do that now while the worm waits in the fridge).

I cooked my worm for about 25 minutes, after which the tenderloin is well done, and the whole worm had pleasantly "roasted" look to the outside.

However, to give it one final finishing touch, I cranked on the top broiler of the oven at full power and watched carefully as the exterior of the worm got crisped-up a little more.

I did this until it looked right to me - it should not be more than a few minutes at most. Watch constantly when you broil in this way because the difference between "done" and "burned" can be only a few seconds.

Step 3 - Adding the Mouth and Teeth

To make the mouth, use a sharp knife with a small blade. You need to cut out a semi-circle from the "head" of the worm - use the bigger end of the tenderloin as the head-end. You may wish to get a little experimental and creative with the shape of the mouth as well but this gave just the right look I wanted.

Now is a good time to pick up the piece you just cut out and pop it into your mouth. It should be tasty!

Now, take the stick of uncooked spaghetti and break off small pieces (make them longer than the little scrap in the picture - they need to be long enough to stick in and stay!) Stick the small pieces into the mouth as teeth. Do the upper and lower jaws. I found that evenly-spaced teeth of even lengths gave the effect I was looking for.

Only about 1/3 of each tooth is visible; the other 2/3 is pushed into the meat of the jaw to hold it in.

OK! That's shaped up pretty nicely! We have something that looks like a vicious little roasted-up Fleshworm! Now the remaining step is to do any final preparation work for whatever your presentation is going to be.

Step 4 - Final Preparations

Before we can serve the Fleshworm, we need to remove the guts.

Slice open the abdomen and allow the innards to squeeze out. This will serve as a sauce. You may wish to turn on a fan if you're new to this, as I understand that the smell is really quite astonishing.

It's all about the presentation. For example, those "entrails" in the last picture are actually just a little bit of leftover chili. Some spaghetti sauce could work too. Of course, it doesn't look like chili -- it just looks repulsive.

That's the kind of thing you're looking to do in the presentation. Here is an idea for a simple, single-dish presentation. Get creative! Those little hors-d'oevre skewers or vicious-looking little fondue forks can really come in handy.

Now that's starting to look like something you'd find on the dinner table when visiting a house of horrors.

Recipe 2 - Using A Bacon Wrap (instead of Prosciutto)

The required items are very similar to the previous version. I think it has a slight edge in both flavour and appearance, so if you're up to it, I'd suggest this one.

Simply substitute about half a package of North American style strip bacon instead of the Prosciutto and alter the recipe as follows:

Step 1 - Preparation

Take the tenderloin and lay it out. Take strips of bacon and wrap them tightly barber-pole-style along the pork. Overlap the turns about one-half the width of a strip, and orient the bacon strip such that the more fatty part is on the outside (and the meatier part overlaps underneath on the next pass).

Before you get to the end of one strip, overlap it onto a new strip. We want it wound snugly and with no tenderloin showing through.

Next, wrap the worm-to-be in plastic wrap, and stick it in the freezer. Take this opportunity to curve the worm into any special position you want before it freezes. I will explain why we're freezing it in the next step.

Step 2 - Cooking

I used my BBQ to cook mine, but you may wish to try the oven instead or otherwise experiment (for example, there is usually snow on the ground by the time Halloween rolls around where I live. Not great BBQ weather.)

  1. Preheat the BBQ to medium-high heat (around 350-400 F, I would guess. No higher.)

  2. Form a high-sided "pan" out of strong aluminum foil. The worm will sit in this as it cooks. The bacon will spit somewhat as it cooks, so the high walls are useful. If the drippings go into the BBQ, they will surely catch fire and we don't want that.

  3. Remove the frozen worm from the freezer and remove the plastic wrap. Place it into the foil "pan", stick it on the top rack of the BBQ, and close the lid.

  4. I let mine cook under supervision for about 25 minutes. Then I turned it over in the pan (the bottom was well-cooked) and reduced the heat to LOW and let it cook for a further 10 mins.

The reason for freezing the worm first is simple: the tenderloin cooks pretty easily, but the bacon needs much more cooking time by comparison. To compensate, we freeze the whole thing. The thin outside coating of bacon thaws and cooks readily while the frozen interior takes longer to thaw, then cook.

I tried it without freezing once, it didn't work for me - the inside was far too cooked, and was all dried out by the time the bacon was done.

Step 3 - Adding the Mouth and Teeth

Same thing here as the previous method - first, cut out a mouth-shape with a small, sharp knife (cutting out a semicircle worked well for me). Then pop it in your mouth, it is delicious!

Then break off short sections of uncooked spaghetti noodle and insert them to make teeth.

Now we have something that looks like a roasted, vicious little teethy thing! Repulsive!

Step 4 - Presentation

Here's another sample presentation using some chili as entrails (again, spaghetti sauce could work as well). First, cut the worm up into slices.

Next, place the head onto a plate and put a little spoonful of sauce onto it. Chili works well, as does Marinara sauce, etc.

Repeat until you've laid out the entire worm, then add a few garnishes as desired. Disgusting! If you have any miniature forks or skewers, you may wish to stab one into each slice.

Disgusting! Repulsive! But also Delicious!

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