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Frog Legs For Days

Words: Jeffrey Hansell
Photos: Randy Schmidt

A friend from Covington brought my wife and I some frog legs just before Ox Lot 9 opened. I’d eaten frog legs maybe once before as a kid, but I cooked them and they were awesome. My wife turned to me as we ate them and said, “We should put frog legs on the menu.”

We ran them as a special, but now they are on the regular menu. I kept them not just because they were an instant hit, but because they do carry some “street cred” with the locals. It is an indigenous ingredient in our area and very few restaurants use frog legs at all, much less frog legs gigged locally on the Northshore. 

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Using the local ingredient helps connect our customers with their past. There is nothing more gratifying than an older gentleman telling us how he hasn’t eaten frog legs since he was a boy, reminiscing about a long night frog gigging followed by his grandmother’s version of the delicious dish, and ours can stand with hers. A certain smell or taste can transport you right to a moment. 

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Flash Fried Frog Legs
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Frog Legs
  1. 1 pound (8 to 10) medium fresh Louisiana frog legs, cleaned
  2. 1 cup whole buttermilk
  3. 1 cup hot sauce*, divided
  4. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  6. 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  7. 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  8. Peanut oil, for frying
  9. Quick Pickled Celery (recipe follows)
  10. Buttermilk Dressing (recipe follows)
  11. Garnish: shaved watermelon radish, fresh dill
Quick Pickled Celery
  1. 2 cups thinly sliced celery
  2. 1 small dill sprig
  3. 1 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  4. 1 cup water
  5. ¾ cup sugar
  6. ½ cup white wine vinegar
  7. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  8. 2 whole cloves
Buttermilk Dressing
  1. 1 whole pasteurized egg
  2. Juice of 1 lemon
  3. 1 clove garlic
  4. 1 small shallot
  5. 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  6. 2 teaspoons fresh cracked pepper
  7. 1 teaspoon salt
  8. 1 cup blended oil
  9. 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  11. 1 tablespoon chopped dill
  12. 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
Frog Legs
  1. In large bowl, combine frog legs, buttermilk, and ¼ cup hot sauce. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour and Creole seasoning. Set aside.
  3. In a small stainless steel saucepot, heat remaining ¾ cup hot sauce over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half. Add cream, and reduce heat to low; cook until reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to very low or off, and slowly whisk in butter, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time. Try to keep sauce at a constant temperature during this step, between 100° to 120° is best. After emulsified, reserve in a warm place.
  4. In a large Dutch oven, pour oil to a depth of 2 inches. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 360°. Remove frog legs from buttermilk marinade, and shake off any excess. Working in batches, dredge frog legs in flour mixture, and place in hot oil. Fry until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with hot sauce mixture.
  5. Serve immediately with Quick Pickled Celery and Buttermilk Dressing. Garnish with watermelon radish and dill, if desired.
Quick Pickled Celery
  1. In a 1-quart container or jar, place celery and dill.
  2. In small saucepot, bring all remaining ingredients to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat, and pour over celery and dill. If storing, follow traditional canning methods. Otherwise, let stand until mixture reaches room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before using. Quick Pickled Celery will keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.
Buttermilk Dressing
  1. In the container of a blender, place egg, lemon juice, garlic, shallot, vinegar, pepper, and salt. Cover and blend on medium speed until combined. Reduce speed to low, and add oil in a slow, steady stream until combined.
  2. Once emulsified, add buttermilk and herbs; process on low speed until just combined. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before using.
Notes
  1. *We use Crystal Hot Sauce.
Chefs to Watch http://www.chefstowatch.com/
Buttermilk Dressing
2017-01-12T13:07:30+00:00

One Comment

  1. Red Blackerby September 14, 2016 at 12:13 am - Reply

    I worked with Jeff for about 2 years…..long ago when we worked at Veranda on Highland, with Chef Tom Robey in Birmingham, Alabama. Jeff is an amazing chef and has some great ideas for food prep and presentation. I wish will always be a strong supporter of his where ever he is working.

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