Frog legs

Other Names: Ancas de rana (Spanish); cosce de rana (Italian); cuisses de grenouille (French); froschschenkel (German); hanyu pinyin (Chinese). Ranidae.

General Description: The edible frog (Rana esculenta) is an amphibian that has long been enjoyed for its tender, delicate rear legs. Chinese, Germans, and Italians eat them in quantity, and in America they’re a specialty of Cajun Louisiana. Sautéed frog legs is a dish of French haute cuisine,
while garlicky frog legs Provençal is a rustic dish.

Locale and Season: Frog legs are both wild and farmed. Peak season for wild frogs is in the rainy months from May to
October. Fresh frog legs from Florida are in season in early spring. Frozen frog legs are available year-round.

Characteristics: Frog legs are mild in flavor. Their tender meat is most similar to chicken wings. They are sold by the number of leg pairs per pound, ranging from the largest at 2/4 count to the smallest at 16/20 count; the most popular are 4/6 and 6/8 count.

Left: Saddle off; Right: Saddle on

How to Choose: Frog legs are removed either at or below the pelvis and called either saddle-on or saddle-off. Saddle-off are preferred because they’re fully trimmed. All frog legs are sold skinless. Aquacultured frog legs are lighter in color and milder in taste than wild; they are also cleaner. This is significant, as wild frog legs are susceptible to salmonella contamination.

Storage: Store fresh frog legs up to 2 days refrigerated. Store frozen frog legs up to 3 months frozen.


1. Rinse thawed or fresh legs in several changes of cold
water and pat dry.

2. For larger frog legs, scald 3 minutes in 2 quarts boiling water mixed with 1/2 cup lemon juice and salt. Remove, dry with clean towel, season to taste with salt and pepper, and then proceed with recipe. Smaller frog legs may be seasoned, then cooked.

3. Sauté, batter and deep-fry, bake, pan-fry, or broil.

Suggested Recipe: Cajun Fried Frog Legs (serves 4): Beat 4 eggs, then mix in 2 cups of flour. Add 1/2 cup milk and mix,
then add 1/2 cup wine. Season to taste with salt and reserve. Combine 1/2 cup each cornmeal and flour with 1 teaspoon each cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder. Dip 12 frog legs into the egg mixture, then the cornmeal mixture. Heat 1 quart canola oil to 365°F or until shimmering hot, then deep-fry the frog legs until brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes.

Flavor Affinities: Butter, cayenne, celery, cornmeal, garlic, lemon, hot sauce, mushrooms, onion, paprika, parsley, shallot,
thyme, tomato, white wine, Worcestershire sauce.

from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com