Herbed Frogs’ Legs Recipe

Cuisses de Grenouille aux Herbes

[Herbed Frogs' Legs]

A lot of the things the French are notorious for eating, like frogs’ legs or snails, kidneys or horse meat, aren’t really that common in everyday food. In the case of frogs’ legs, I personally tasted them for the first time just a year ago, in a three-star restaurant no less, during a week-end getaway in the Perigord.

And then a few weeks ago, while shopping at my Picard store, I noticed that they carried frozen frogs’ legs. Always one for bringing interesting food back into my kitchen, I bought a bag (500 g for 5.76 €) and more or less forgot about it, keeping it for a special occasion. Our recent mission to empty the freezer is certainly special occasion enough, so this past Saturday we decided to treat ourselves to herbed frogs’ legs for lunch.

I had clipped a recipe in a recent issue of the French magazine Saveurs, I went on to search the web for alternate recipes, and ended up with this version : a simple, traditional preparation which uses few ingredients, so as not to mute the frogs’ legs’ shy voice.

The frogs’ legs come in pairs, which should be handled with care so as not to be separated. I spent a little while just gazing at my army of frogs’ pants, marvelling at the smallness and precision of their shape : they are snipped at the base of their spines, and you can see the tiny thighs and calves, the bones and tendons.

We dipped the frogs’ legs in flour to help them develop a golden crust, cooked them in the skillet, and served them sprinkled with chopped parsley and garlic. The flesh on frogs’ legs is often said to “taste like chicken” (the ubiquitous expression), but it struck me as being in fact closer to some white fish, like cod, both in texture and taste. The flavor is very delicate, so it’s important to choose an accompaniment that doesn’t overpower it.

The only realistic, enjoyable way to eat these is with your fingers, gnawing at the teeny weeny little bones, which you pile up into a mininiature mass grave. This is definitely not first-date food, unless you think sticky fingers and garlic breath will bring you closer, which may very well be the case.

Cuisses de Grenouille aux Herbes

- 500 g frogs’ legs (about twenty pairs)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 sprigs of flat-leaf parsley
- 20 g (1 Tbsp) butter
- 30 g (1/4 C) flour
- salt, pepper

Rinse the frogs’ legs under cold water, drain, and pat dry with paper towels. Peel and chop the garlic. Rinse the parsley leaves, dry and chop finely. Combine two thirds of the garlic with the chopped parsley, and set aside. Pour the flour in a plate, and coat the pairs of frogs’ legs on both sides, one by one.

Heat the butter and the remaining garlic in a large skillet. When the butter starts to foam, transfer the frogs’ legs into the skillet. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes, until the flour coating starts to get golden. Flip each pair of legs, sprinkle a little more salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes, until golden and slightly crispy.

Transfer the frogs’ legs onto a serving plate, and sprinkle with the herb and garlic mixture. Serve immediately, with buttered toasts of crusty bread.

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  • http://seattlebonvivant.typepad.com/ Seattle Bon Vivant

    Chère Clothilde:

    I can’t help but think of Les Triplettes De Belleville whenever I think of frog’s legs.

    As of yet, I’m unable to muster the courage to try some but as soon as I do, if I ever, you’ll be the first one to know. :-)

    Best regards from Seattle!

    SBV

    PS: J’adore ton blog!

  • http://karen.catsudon.org Karen

    Hi Clotilde,

    Two things we have similar with the French are frogs and snails in our cuisine. In our province (Pampanga, Philippines), we have standard procedures for frogs, i.e. stuffed, in vermicelli soup or fried. I’ll try to work out the recipes and e-mail you sometime soon.

    You gave me a wonderful idea for the next time I come across frogs in the marketplace. We buy them live and almost every other girl has been initiated into the proper way of decapitating and skinning a frog. We use the very fine ash from the wood-burning stove to hold onto the skin and pull it from the “meat”. Hmmm… childhood memories. :-)

    Karen

  • http://scally.typepad.com Pascale

    Hello Clotilde,
    Superb idea, I love “cuisses de grenouilles” but I was never brave enough to cook them for David. He had already “escargots” at my parent’s place but I don’t want to go too far.

  • http://www.christineregina.com/foxy/charliesangel glovefox

    Hi Clothilde!

    We Chinese also eat frogs–we call them “Paddy Chicken” or “Field Chicken” (depending on how you translate the term). Instead of just the legs, we frequently skin them and chop up the whole frog. One typical way of serving them is to fry them with scallions, ginger and dried chillies.

    Yummy!

  • serena

    hi clotilde,

    just wanted to add on to glovefox’s comment about us Chinese eating frogs. one of my favourite ways is in a savoury rice porridge (congee) – almost tastes like chicken congee (which is the ultimate comfort food for me) but with a *slightly* sweeter twist, if that makes sense…

  • http://www.marmaladechainsaw.com ninds

    Hi Clotilde,

    I need to try this recipe of yours :)

    The way we Indonesians do it is generally frog legs sauteed in sweet soya sauce and chillies. The frogs in Indonesia were always itty bitty, not as big as your French ones…so they become rather candied. It’s quite lovely, I really wish I had a recipe for it for you to try..

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    SBV – We’ve just recently seen Les Triplettes de Belleville, and so we made jokes about it while eating, too! Hope you try these someday, it’s tasty, interesting and fun!

    Karen, Glovefox, Serena and Ninds – I had absolutely no idea frogs were also eaten in Asia, I’m deligted to find out. This may also better explain why the frogs are bought came from Indonesia! And thanks for telling me about these traditional ways of preparing them, it’s fascinating! And I love the name “paddy chicken”.

    Pascale – Oh you should try making these for David, I’m sure he would love them, and it’s a great weird-food experience for your little ones, too. And if no one likes them, well, more frogs for you! :)

  • http://froglegsparis virginia

    hi my name is virginia and i´m travelling to paris next month
    i really want to taste the frogs so please help me finding a frog restaurant in paris
    please!!!
    thanks
    virginia

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Virginia – Frogs’ legs aren’t often served at restaurants in Paris, so I can’t really recommend a place in particular. But if I see it on a menu in the coming weeks, I’ll let you know!

  • dorothée

    Bonjour

    I recently found live frogs at a neighborhood asian market (in New York state, USA) but didn’t get any as I had no idea how to prepare them. Can anyone give me any insights? I am somewhat familiar, albeit out of practice, with preparing live chickens and freshly caught fish, but frogs left me pondering. I have found many recipes, but none address the problem of converting the live frog to the desired state for cooking.

    Merci

    Dorothée

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Dorothée – I can’t help with this, but I can suggest you post your request on the forums, where maybe someone will have insight? The link to the forums is in the upper right-hand corner.

  • Luis Fernando Valenzuela

    Hi, i am from Sinaloa Mexico, I amd amb producer of Bull frog, i would like to comercialize it, so i would like to have the address of the Asian Market located in New york, and if anybody knows who could be and live frog wholesale. Thank you!!

  • http://www.cuissesdegrenouille.com/indexengl.htm Manou

    Hi,
    Bonjour,

    Just have a look : http://www.cuissesdegrenouille.com/indexengl.htm
    Jetez un oeil : http://www.cuissesdegrenouille.com

    Best regards,
    Cordialement,

    Manou.

  • http://familientagebuch.de/rainer/2007/28.html Rainer S. from HH/Germany

    Hi,
    last week I found frozen frog legs at a china dealer in Hamburg.
    Yesterday I have cooked. I bloged all steps of preparing with a slide show. Just have a look!

    Best regards Rainer

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