Why I almost didn’t post this…
Recently, while perusing… well, pretty much everything… in my favorite Asian foods market, I picked up a pack of frog legs to use in a recipe for an ebook. Because I never eat these things, I didn’t give it much thought. (Other than an intent to research these little guys to see that they are raised and harvested humanely. ‘Should have done that before picking up the pack.) Having lived in the country for portions of my childhood and adult life, my experience with frogs has been that of being overrun by them. Their chirping at night was frequently deafening, and they covered the yard and driveway to the point that it was impossible to drive anywhere without running them over. At times, their numbers seemed to reach biblical plague proportions.
The possibility that there could be a shortage of frogs never occurred to me.
At home, I began to research frogs as food. It did not take long to discover that in many areas, frogs are in trouble. A veracious world appetite for them and over harvesting of frogs has caused their numbers to be reduced. In areas where this happens, balance in the ecosystem is lost. The mosquito population grows. Sometimes disease carrying mosquitos! Bad for frogs. Bad for humans. Bad for everybody.
Currently, methods for developing sustainable frog farming are being explored. Turns out, frog farming is not as easy as it sounds.
Why frogs hate farms.
- Frogs do not like to be crowded. They are territorial; a male frog may require up to 21 square feet! Elaborate energy-intensive farms are required to house them.
- Frogs want to hunt live food. They do not want to be fed pellets made from “vegetable” protein (which is probably gmo corn). Can you blame them? Fish meal is not readily available because of overfishing.
- Disease potential. Challenges involved in housing frogs has lead to outbreaks and loss.
The optimal solution is to allow frog populations to regrow and harvest them from the wild only where they are numerous.
So I decided to post this recipe/method with one caveat, a recommendation to check your source for frog legs, should you choose to eat them. Look for sustainable sources… or catch your own frogs in a sustainable location to prevent them from being run over by a car. 🙂
After using the pack currently in my kitchen, frogs legs will likely be off the table for me (and people I feed), unless I find them sustainable.
If you can find sustainable frog legs, at this time, they are likely wild caught, feeding on what is natural for them to feed on, and good clean source for folate, protein, minerals like potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium, and also Omega 3.
Frogs legs are easy to cook, and kinda fun. Frenching them to make little lollipops is really simple.
Does frog taste like chicken? Maybe. To me, it has the texture of a firm white fish. It is firm, a little flaky, and very pure… as in, it doesn’t taste processed. The flavor of the flesh is rather bland, and something between tilapia and white meat on chicken. This makes for a clean white palette on which you can paint any color, flavor, texture. It really is no wonder that frog legs are so much in demand.
If you have frog legs available, soaking them in milk, or buttermilk overnight, will make them more tender and pull out any impurities. Once soaked, dry them and then fry them like chicken or fish.
These little lollipops have been soaked overnight in buttermilk, frenched, lollipopped, simply dressed in seasoned flour and deep fried. That’s it.
Of course, you can just fry up frog legs as-is. But if you want a bit more elegant presentation, look to the French..
The biology class I opted out of.
Using kitchen scissors, split the legs apart. Then cut each leg apart at the mid joint, creating 4 pieces – 2 upper leg pieces and 2 lower leg pieces.
On the top part of each upper leg piece, there is a joint. Carefully cut that tiny piece of bone away at the joint to expose the leg bone for frenching.
You can see the little bone in the top now.
Now it is easy to wrap your fingers around the little bone, an press downward, removing the flesh from the bone. You can leave the meat pressed down like this for a frenched bite.
Or you can invert the meat to create a lollipop.
The exposed black veins are, to me, a clue that this little creature is more like fish than chicken. This underside looks like catfish to me.
French chefs will often stuff these little bites with something like a duxelle or crab meat.
A simple dredge in seasoned flour…
Then deep fry. I am using a blend of peanut oil and coconut oil today. You can see the little bones sticking out of the oil; be sure to get those down in there too because you want to give your diners a clean thoroughly cooked bite.
It takes only about 3 minutes to cook these. They are very small. They will bubble up and then the bubbles will settle.
When done, remove lollipops with tongs or a slotted spoon and place them on a rack or paper towels. Salt, if needed. Serve on their own or with sauce.
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