“I’ve heard it tastes like chicken.” This is usually the response I get when I mention I’ll be preparing frog legs. While the meat does look a bit like chicken, I’ve found the taste to be more subtle and fishlike. Because the meat is cooked right next to the bones, it imparts a rich and delicate flavor, so as far as I’m concerned, frog legs taste like frog legs.
They were never available locally until a new grocery store opened. We had heard their fish section was fantastic, and someone had remarked that they even carried frog legs. We wasted no time, and the next day we were there in front of the fish counter. I didn’t immediately see them, so I asked the gentleman who waited on us, “Do you have frog legs?”
“Yes, I guess I do,” he replied, “But that’s according to my wife.”
His delivery and timing were great, and besides, I’ve always considered frog legs not only to be a delicacy and a novelty, but a bit humorous as well. And it reminded me of the Henny Youngman joke:
“Waiter. Waiter. Do you have frog legs?”
“Yes, sir. I do.”
“Well, then hop over the bar and get me a beer.”
But back to the business… What follows is a method on how to prepare frog legs for frying. I have added an idea on how to assemble an attractive presentation when serving frog legs to your guests.
Note: A frog is finely structured, and frying seems to destroy the tendons and ligaments which normally keep its parts together. If not carefully handled, the result can end up being a pile of bones and meat, so a special two-spatula technique needs to be employed when turning the frog legs in the skillet. I think a better method is to “French each thigh.”
Frog Legs Frenched
16 pairsFrog's legs
2 cupsAll-purpose flour
2 TbspParsley rough-chopped
2 TbspKosher salt
2 TbspBlack pepper
3 tspGarlic powder
2 tspMustard powder
Cajun spicesOptional to taste
Ahead of Time (“Frenching” the frog legs can be done the afternoon before the meal):
Place a pair of frog legs on a cutting board, and with a sharp shears cut between the thigh portion and lower leg. Set lower legs aside and discard. Cut between the frog legs, resulting in two pieces. At the top of each leg where the thigh joins the hip, remove the remainder of the hip joint. Grip the top of the thigh bone with one hand, and with the other hand push the meat towards the other end, resulting in a clean bone with meat connected to one end looking much like a lollipop. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in refrigerator. Try to maintain the shape of the lollipop throughout the whole process so they can be placed on a plate with the Frenched bone sticking up in the air. About 2 hours before cooking, remove from refrigerator so it can get to room temperature.
Target Time ______________________
Time: __________ (2 hours 15 minutes prior to target time)
Dry frog legs thoroughly with a cloth.
In a brown paper bag add the flour and spices.
Add the frog legs to the bag, shake to coat, and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 225 degrees.
Pour 96 oz. of canola oil in electric fry pan or the T-Fall.
Set heat. When it reaches 375 degrees, start adding frog legs.
Remove frog legs from bag and fry in the oil for about 6 minutes.
Put in a baking dish or pie plate with a paper towel in the bottom, and keep warm in the oven.
Time: __________ (1 hour and 15 minutes prior to target time)
For garlic Puree and Spinach presentation roast 4 heads of garlic in a 350 degree oven.
To prepare leave the root end intact and cut the top of the garlic off exposing the cloves. Be sure to cut enough so the cloves of garlic can easily be removed after it’s cooked.
Remove the papery outer skin from the heads, leaving the clusters of cloves intact.
Arrange the heads in a baking dish (fluted pie dish for 6 heads, small casserole for 4 heads).
Add pats of butter and ½ cup of chicken stock and set in the middle level of the oven.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until the garlic heads are golden brown and tender.
Wash spinach (3.5 oz.) and remove all stems.
Put spinach in sauce pan and cover with lid. Don’t add any liquid. Put on burner and set to medium heat. Toss the spinach from time to time until it is well wilted.
Puree in food processor and set aside.
Remove cloves from husks and place in food processor.
Add ½ cup of milk and puree.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Divide and spoon parsley sauce onto 4 plates. In the center put a generous spoonful of garlic puree. Dot with sriracha if desired. Warm briefly in a 200 degree oven, and then arrange the frog lollies around the puree.
To eat: Remove a frog lollie from plate making sure some of the parsley sauce is covering the end. With a knife smear some of the garlic puree on the meat and enjoy the result.
If you are in the mood for one more frog joke, here’s one from Jay Leno:
“A new study shows that licking the sweat off a frog can cure depression. The downside is, the minute you stop licking, the frog gets depressed again.”