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  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 4:21pm

Leaps of faith

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 October, 2010, 12:00am

I love the tender meat and subtle flavour of frog legs, although I can understand why some people have an aversion to them. At a restaurant, a friend ordered 'field chicken claypot rice'. He was happily eating it, until he pulled a small, webbed foot out of his mouth and said, 'This doesn't look like chicken.' I remember the look of horror on his face when I told him that field chicken (teen gai) is frog. He had mistaken the mild taste of the meat for chicken, although the small bones (not to mention the webbed foot) should have given him a clue. When buying frog legs, ask the vendor to remove the feet.

Sauteed frog legs with tomato concasse and mushy peas (pictured)

You can't really taste the anchovy in the tomato concasse - it just adds richness.

12 frog legs (six pairs, separated), skinned and cleaned

30ml fresh lemon juice

Plain (all-purpose) four, for dusting

30 grams butter

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tomato concasse:

2 large tomatoes, about 200 grams each

About 20ml olive oil

1 anchovy fillet in olive oil, mashed to a paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

Leaves of one small thyme sprig

For the mushy peas:

30 grams unsalted butter

1 shallot, minced

200 grams frozen petits pois

About 30ml olive oil

Rinse the frog legs thoroughly. Stir the lemon juice into 150ml of ice water, add the frog legs and leave them to soak for about 30 minutes.

While the frog legs are soaking, prepare the tomatoes and peas. Cut a shallow X in the skin at the base of each tomato. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil, add the tomatoes and blanch them for about 30 seconds. Drain them then put them into a bowl of ice water. Peel off the skin then cut each tomato in half and remove and discard the seeds. Cut the flesh into small cubes. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the anchovy and cook until sizzling. Stir in the tomato, thyme and garlic, season lightly with salt and simmer, stirring often, for a few minutes.

For the peas, heat the butter in a pan until it's foamy. Add the shallot and cook until soft. Add the peas and a splash of water, then cover the pan with the lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peas are hot. Pur?e the peas roughly in a food processor - they shouldn't be smooth. Stir in the olive oil to thin the consistency of the mixture.

Remove the frog legs from the water and pat them dry with paper towels. Season lightly with salt and pepper then dredge them in the flour and shake off the excess. Heat the butter in a skillet until it foams. Add the frog legs carefully (they will splatter in the hot fat) and saut? them until they're an even golden brown. Drain them on paper towels. Quickly heat the tomato concasse until it's bubbling then spoon it onto a large plate (or two individual plates). Put the frog legs in the centre of the plate and serve the mushy peas on the side.

Vietnamese fried frog legs with lime pepper-salt dip

This simple lime pepper-salt dip goes well with all types of fried seafood.

12 frog legs (six pairs, separated), skinned and cleaned

30ml fresh lemon juice

Corn starch, as needed

Cooking oil, as needed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lime pepper-salt dip:

1 tsp fine sea salt

1 tsp finely ground white pepper

Fresh limes, preferably the small Thai limes, as needed

Watercress, for serving

Rinse the frog legs thoroughly. Stir the lemon juice into 150ml of ice water, add the frog legs and leave to soak for about 30 minutes. Drain, then pat them dry with paper towels.

Pour oil into a skillet to a depth of about 1cm and heat over a medium flame. Season the frog legs lightly with salt and black pepper. Dredge them in the corn starch and shake off the excess, then carefully place them in the hot oil. Fry on all sides until lightly brown then drain on paper towels. Stir together the sea salt and white pepper in a small bowl then squeeze in lime juice and mix to make a thin sauce. Put the frog legs on a plate and garnish with watercress. Serve with the dipping sauce of lime pepper-salt.

Stir-fried frog legs with shallot, black bean and red chilli

12 frog legs (six pairs, separated), skinned and cleaned

30ml fresh lemon juice

About 45ml cooking oil

6 large shallots, peeled then quartered

2 garlic cloves, halved

1-2 slices fresh ginger, peeled

2 large mild red chillies, cut on the diagonal into 5mm thick pieces

1 tsp fermented black beans

10ml Chinese rice wine

Fine sea salt and ground white pepper

Rinse the frog legs thoroughly. Stir the lemon juice into 150ml of ice water, add the frog legs and leave them to soak for about 30 minutes. Drain, pat them dry with paper towels then cut each leg into two pieces at the joint.

Rinse the black beans under water then soak them in warm water for about 15 minutes. Drain then mash them in a small bowl with the rice wine.

Heat the cooking oil in a wok until very hot. Add the shallot and cook over a high flame until browned. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Carefully stir in the black-bean and rice-wine mixture and stir briefly, then add the frog legs and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine the ingredients, then add about 50ml of water, stir again, then cover the wok with the lid, turn down the heat and simmer for several minutes. Adjust the seasoning then serve immediately with white rice.

Styling Corner Kitchen Cooking School

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