There is undoubtedly a wide spread stigma attached to the very idea of eating frogs' legs. For many people, the thought of consuming any part of these small amphibians is enough to put them off even trying what they would find to be the very tender, succulent and tasty meat. If you have such strong reservations and can get past them, you will find the flesh very similar in texture and even flavor to chicken thighs and that while many more of them are likely to be required to make up a meal, they are a more than worthwhile - at least occasional - indulgence. Frogs' legs can be shallow fried, deep fried, baked and even curried, so there are plenty of options available for ongoing experimentation.
Spicy pan fried frogs' legs are served on a couscous bed with a simple accompanying salad
If you buy the frogs' legs frozen as will likely be the case, you have to defrost them fully before they are cooked. Although they will defrost fairly rapidly in two to three hours at room temperature, the easiest way is simply to transfer them from your freezer to your fridge the night before and let them defrost slowly. Make sure you put them in a deep dish to contain leaking juices and cover the dish with its lid, aluminum foil or plastic wrap. They should subsequently be removed from the fridge half an hour before they are to be cooked.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
Red chili ready for roasting
- 6 frogs' legs/3 pairs
- 1 medium size and strength red chili
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for rubbing on chili
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon sweet chili dipping sauce
- Splash of Tabasco sauce
- 1½ small ramekins of chicken stock
- 1 small ramekin of couscous
- 2 handfuls mixed salad of choice
- Freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf) to garnish
Roasted chili is removed from the oven
Preheat your oven to 350F/170C/Gas Mark 4. Rub the chili with a little olive oil, pierce it a few times with a metal skewer to eliminate the potential risk of it bursting during cooking and sit it in a small ovenproof dish. Bake in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes until the skin is wrinkled and softened.
Chili and garlic are pounded to a paste using a pestle and mortar
Take the chili from the oven and allow it to cool completely. Cut off and discard the remaining stalk. Roughly chop the main body. Peel and roughly chop the two garlic cloves. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the chili, garlic and a pinch of salt to a smooth paste. Alternatively, you could use an electric food processor or spice grinder.
Marinade is gently simmered to bring the flavors together
Measure out the four tablespoons of olive oil in to a small saucepan. Add the chili paste, sweet chili sauce and a few splashes of Tabasco. Put the pan on to a low to medium heat and bring to the gentlest of bubbling simmers. Cook in this way, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, for seven or eight minutes to get all the flavors fully infused in the oil. Turn off the heat, cover and leave to cool completely.
Frogs' legs pairs are separated with a cleaver
While the marinade is cooling, some of the time can be used to prepare the frogs' legs. These ones were bought still attached as pairs so required to be separated. Begin by cutting through the hip bone midway between the two legs with a cleaver or sturdy and sharp knife.
Hip bones are trimmed from frogs' legs
At the top of each leg, feel the shape of the remaining hip bone section with your fingers so as you know where to cut and remove with your cleaver. The hip bone pieces should be discarded.
Marinade coated frogs' legs
Sit the legs in a suitable glass or stone dish (don't use plastic - the dish will become irrevocably stained) and pour over the cooled marinade. Turn the legs around in the sauce and make sure they are all evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate for a minimum half hour at room temperature. Alternatively, you could marinate for longer in the fridge but make sure the legs are allowed a half hour or so to come back up to room temperature before they are fried.
A small ramekin is an excellent way of measuring out a single portion of couscous
There are various types of couscous (some of which require steeping in water before cooking) and various preparation methods. The pack should always be checked for guidance. In this instance, the chicken stock was measured out and added to a small saucepan. The couscous was measured out and held on standby.
Couscous is scattered in to pot with hot stock
When the stock begins to boil, turn off the heat. Scatter in the couscous, cover the pot and leave for seven or eight minutes while you fry the frogs' legs.
Salad is washed under running cold water
This supermarket prepared salad consisted of mixed leaves, cherry tomatoes and red and yellow bell pepper slices. Always wash the salad before use. Put it in to a colander, rinse under running cold water and sit on your draining board to drain.
Frogs' legs are fried in some of the marinating juices
Spoon some of the liquid marinade (a tablespoon or so) in to a small, non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Fry the frogs' legs for two and a half to three minutes each side before lifting to a plate covered with kitchen paper to drain for a minute or two.
Couscous is fluffed up with a fork
Use a fork to fluff up the couscous and separate the grains. Fresh herbs could be added at this stage for extra flavor if desired, with cilantro being perfectly suited to this recipe.
Couscous bed with frogs' legs on top
Arrange the couscous as a bed on your serving plate and lift on the frogs' legs. Drizzle with a little of the frying juices.
Salad is plated on the empty part of the serving plate
Plate the salad beside the couscous and garnish with the freshly chopped cilantro.