Monday, December 10, 2007

Frog Blogging

What is this luscious meat?
All dressed in a tomato-y sauce, served warm from the deli counter.
It so happens there is an anachronistic "gourmet" grocery store in my neighborhood, a place that sprang up to cater to the post-WWII generation who first populated these suburban homes. Several of those original owners are still here; some arrive at the store by taxi, but at least as many of them drive themselves.
There seems to have been a solid Italian-American presence here. The store actually sells cardoons!
I've seen lovely cheeses and sausages there. It's not a place with a strong local-sustainable attitude, though, so we are selective about what we buy. Pasta. Booze. Cheeses and sausages.
Well, the other day, Cranky was cruising the aisles there, and the friendly guy at the deli counter asked him if he wanted to try this meat. For free.
"Come on! I'll give it to ya!"
OK. So Cranky brought it home, warm and aromatic. We had to eat it right away.
Although it was something I'd sworn I would probably never eat.
But I gave it a try.
Agghhh. Tasted like pond algae. We threw it away.
Frog legs.
What were they thinking?

32 comments:

Dagny said...

I knew my mother has been lying to me all these years when she said it tasted like chicken. Of course, I've never really trusted her since that ugly chitterlings incident.

Zoomie said...

I guess it's cultural but I'm in no hurry to try cuisse de grenouille, either. Ick.

FaustianBargain said...

sauteeing frog legs in garlic-rosemary butter was one of my first jobs over heat..(the very first was shucking oysters)...you need a lot of garlic and lots of butter to make the frog legs taste like anything. i did taste it..we are supposed to taste everything we make. it did taste like chicken..but then again, i was only recently introduced to chicken at that time...so it was not like i knew the subtle and defining qualities of the taste of chicken or something.

dancingmorganmouse said...

I never bothered to try frog legs after my mum said they tasted of wet blotting paper.
Snails, on the other hand, are not bad, if cooked with plenty of garlic & butter (but just about anything tastes better when cooked with plenty of butter & garlic).

Jennifer Jeffrey said...

I've had them before and rather liked them, but then my tastebuds are decidedly quirky.

So curious to know which "gourmet" market you might be referring to...

kudzu said...

Ribbit.

My concept of froggie's legs is something freshly, quickly cooked and therefore not flattered by sitting around in a deli case.

My grandpapa liked to go frog-ggiging but I never went with him and I wasn't interested in his catch. That was a bit too weird for me. When I finally did taste frogs' legs they tasted like -------- chicken. No tomato sauce. Sauteed. Quickly.

kudzu said...

Sorry for the hiccup, the verb is "gigging".

elarael said...

I think the trick with frog's legs is definitely about freshness. I still remember the flavor when I first (and the only time due to circumstance) had them at age 6 or so. We had a family cabin on a large, private pond where someone would catch the frogs and roast them on the campfire.

I remember that they were very good. Chewy and with a wild flavor that was mild, and yes, like chicken if the chicken was tenderer than chicken and fresh and 'different'. Give them another try when they are freshly caught!

FaustianBargain said...

the french used to love their frog legs(which is why they are..err..affectionately known as the 'frogs'), but the killing and exporting of frogs is banned in france. when the english 'import' frog legs, they are actually purchasing asian frog legs. the french buy them from asia and then 'export' it to the brits.(not unlike how they 'export' their foie gras..they keep the good stuff..the 'artisinal stuff' and the ones that are sublime because they are not mass produced... to themselves and basically sell the foie they exported from other eu countries where its not yet illegal(its illegal to produce foie gras in britain)...india and bangaladesh used to be the major exporters at one time until they figured out that they were spending more on pesticides that the frogs were NOT eating because they were not allowed to do their jobs. other countries..(esp indonesia and possibly vietnam?) export to france now. so its very likely that frog legs sold in restaurants are exported and come frozen. considering that, freshly caught frog legs are going to be difficult to find..

from the muppet movie:

pointing to a billboard showing a bucket of "Doc Hopper's French Fried Frog Legs"

Doc Hopper: Isn't that splendid? Just splendid! Just take a look at it.

Kermit: All I can see are millions of frogs with tiny crutches.

(i couldnt help that!)

FaustianBargain said...

oops..butterfingers..

india and bangaladesh used to be the major exporters at one time until they figured out that they were spending more on pesticides [TO KILL THE FLIES] that the frogs were NOT eating because they were not allowed to do their jobs.

i'll stop now.

Sam said...

I had them in France 25 years ago and they tasted like chicken, had them at Gary Danko last year and they taste like chicken then too. The frogs leg is the only thing I fondly remember eating at GD. It wasn't even mine, I stole it from another Frog's plate!

Linda said...

I had some once. I don't remember the taste a pond scum or anything, just all of the annoying little bones. They are a lot of work to eat, like quail. I stick to chicken myself.

El said...

My parents courted over frog legs. Beer batter fried, in a blue-collar bar, with my mom's German shepherd waiting in the car (on her mom's insistence).

I think they're fine if they're fresh (ditto snails) but ick sitting in a deli case next to the potato salad? bluh

Kevin said...

CC,
Not a favorite of mine either.

Lannae said...

Not high on my list of yummies either. Seems like there was a culure of frog's legs here in the south. The elders in the 'hood talked about swamping around as kids and catching frogs, and their mama's cooking 'em up for dinner. *Phew* good thing that developers put mall and sprawl over most of our wetlands and swamps, so I don't have to deal with fresh local frog's legs. (note the sarcasm in that last sentence).

DocChuck said...

Frog legs are delicious IF:

they are fresh;
they are cleaned promptly and correctly;
they are pan fried;
they are the proper size (large).

AND, yes (to me at least) they do taste a lot like chicken.

I have had very good luck getting good frog legs at Wegmans and Food Lion (if you have those supermarkets in your area).

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: After reading all the other comments about it tasting like chicken, I guess your mom is right and I got a bum piece of meat. (Chitterlings! Hee!)

Zoomie: It happened to be waved right under my nose, for free, so... I HAD to try it! :D

FaustianBargain: Ah. Sauteeing. Yeah, these were kind of braised. You're all making me want to give it another try with really fresh, sauteed legs.

Morgan: Well, I can get my butter and garlic fix with a bowl of noodles, hold the snails. :)

Jennifer: Scotty's!

Kudzu: I'm learning a lot from these comments that I was probably skunked on the frog. You're making me brave.

Elarael: Chewy, yes. And in this case, a little dry, so probably not very fresh. Thanks for the pep talk.

Sam: I've loved meals at GD in the not-too-distant past... But even there, I might have shied away from the leggies. Lucky you have your own Frog to steal from.

Linda: I was a little surprised by the algae taste, because if they all tasted that way, there wouldn't be many takers. Yeah, OK, I gotta try again.

El: In a deli case in suburban Marin County, no less. Maybe they caught the frogs themselves. Wait. Do we have ponds? Heh.

Kevin: So we can surmise you've tried them, and there are better things to put in your mouth. Good boy.

Lannae: Just wait till Global Warming prevents you from ever having to eat polar bear! Life is good.

DocChuck: Those stores are not in my region, but I'm fascinated that you can even find frogs' legs at a grocery store. I thought it was akin to wild game.
Anyway, thanks for the tutorial. Now I really do want some good ones.

ChrisB said...

After reading this I think I'm glad I've never tried them!

cookiecrumb said...

Chris: I think that one can get through life perfectly well without devouring amphibians. Stand firm!

peter said...

Catch and release. Repeat.

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: Aw. No gigging then? That's the little trident spear. I don't think you get to release those froggies.
xoxo

Dagny said...

Food Lion is a grocery store chain based in North Carolina. They also have stores in Virginia. And yes, that's how I know that.

kudzu said...

Way-back machine: you were moving to your new area and I mentioned little boys catching tadpoles in the seasonal wetlands along Lucas Valley Road and -- well -- what do tadpoles grow up to be, honey?

Zoomie said...

I say leave the froggies alone - they are having enough trouble with thinning of the ozone layer, little boys on the prowl, and chemicals in the water changing their sexes! Poor froggies!

Anna Haight said...

I too had frog legs, freshly prepared at a restaurant in Alexandria, VA. They did taste like chicken thought they might grow on me until the leftovers were cutely placed in tinfoil shaped like a bird, and on my one-mile trip home, the legs developed a smell that I never want to breathe in again, now associated with the frogs legs. I'll never touch them again.

cookiecrumb said...

Dagny: I know a few southern grocery chains. Publix. Winn-Dixie. Har!

Kudzu: Um. They grow up to be adultpoles? :D

Zoomie: Yeah, wouldn't you much rather have a roasted sea gull? Ew.

Owen said...

I'd guess it was oldish, not quite fresh frogs legs then - since they are YUMMY! However, since they are all dying out, probably not the best dinner choice. They taste better than snails, but from ppersonal experience snails are NOT dying out. In fact - it might be time to try the cornemal feeding technique and see what the ones in the yard taste like....

cookiecrumb said...

Owen: Oh, the poor froggies. I didn't know they were endangered. Well, they're safe from me!
BTW: The snails in your yard are exactly the correct ones to eat. It's a long and slimy (and funny) process getting them to the table, and I hope you will give it a try.

MrsDocChuck said...

Please don't tell him, but those really were chicken legs I fried up. He didn't notice, thanks to the nasal spray.

I needed something "exotic" to "spice up" our dinner, if that excites you.

Please let this be our little secret, OK?

cookiecrumb said...

MrsDocChuck: You cheated!
When I was a kid, my mom fried up some rabbit and told me it was chicken. I ate it up. Boy was I mad when I found out.

Sonny said...

I would love to try some frog legs, but I'm waiting for Sandra Lee to publish a Semi-Homade recipe for them first.

cookiecrumb said...

Sonny: You mean like, take a can of cream of frog legs soup and go from there? That's about where I am. The bravest thing I ever cooked was fresh shad roe. Awesome.