France to Louisiana Frog Legs
From Mom’s kitchen to restaurants in New York City, I have eaten frog legs my entire life. They were pan fried, deep fried, grilled, or served in the French method of a butter sauté. But a road trip through the small Louisiana town of Ferriday and an encounter with an older gentleman named Raimond introduced me to a Creole version of frog legs. Garlicy and spicy, the meat literally fell off the bone and into the sauce. France to Louisiana Frog Legs combines both the spices of Creole seasonings with the butter sauté of French cooking.
You need not track down a “frogger” to acquire frog legs. Most seafood markets have a selection and either fresh or frozen work well here. The recipe begins with a frog beer bath that removes any “fishy” taste and tenderizes. Be sure to “cross the legs” for an interesting presentation and to keep the legs from jumping from the pan!
Plan ahead for this recipe. It includes coffee infused bourbon in the sauce. Hard to find but easy to make, the infusion is made by soaking ground coffee with bourbon. Exact proportions are found at Franklin Coffee Bourbon. It takes several weeks for the bourbon to acquire the coffee flavor. Using plain bourbon simply is not an option and using bourbon and coffee separately dilutes the flavor intensity.
Adding a Sauvignon Blanc wine such as Honig Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford lightens the sauce to provide the perfect balance between the bourbon and the creole seasoning.
Fresh garlic is used in cooking the frog legs as well as in the final sauce. Using garlic infused extra virgin olive oil increases the flavor but if you do not have any on hand, not to worry. Simply add another garlic clove and use regular extra virgin olive oil. Using unsalted butter is important when cooking with bourbon since the spirit enhances the saltiness of other ingredients.
Adding olive oil to the butter sauté prevents the butter from burning at the high heat required for a quick sauté. The goal is not to cook through but to flash sauté to crisp the outside. Final cooking occurs in the oven.
With a Louisiana based menu, the playlist should match. A combination of New Orleans jazz and Delta Blues. A bit tongue in cheek, though, with the inclusion of St. Louis Blues and Martha’s Prize.
12 pair of large frog legs, fresh or frozen
1 12 oz can beer
1 T + 1 t creole seasoning, divided, such as Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning
1 c flour
6 T unsalted butter, divided
¼ c garlic infused olive oil, divided (can substitute regular extra virgin olive oil and increase garlic by 1 clove)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (add an additional clove if using regular olive oil)
½ c coffee infused bourbon, Franklin Coffee Bourbon
¾ c dry white wine, such as Honig Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford
1 t lemon juice
4 t chives, chopped
1 T lemon zest
With a knife, make a small slit between the meat and the bone on the lower part of one frog leg. Push the lower part of the other leg through the cut to create “crossed legs”. Place frog legs in re-sealable plastic bag. Pour beer over frog legs, seal bag and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Remove frog legs from plastic bag and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place on a cutting board. Sprinkle both sides with 1 tablespoon of the creole seasoning and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Put flour in pie plate. In cast iron skillet, over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add 2 cloves of garlic and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Remove garlic and save. Roll frog legs in flour. Working in batches, place frog legs in skillet and cook until browned on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and place on paper towel lined plate.
Heat oven to 300°.
Add remaining butter and olive oil to skillet. Add remaining garlic and reserved garlic; sauté 2 minutes over medium heat, scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet. Turn off heat. Add remaining creole seasoning, bourbon and wine. Turn heat back to medium high and heat to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 10 minutes. Place frog legs back into skillet; cover skillet and place skillet into oven. Bake 30 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven and place 3 frog legs on each of four serving plates. Add the lemon juice to the sauce in the skillet. Evenly divide sauce between the four plates.
Evenly sprinkle chives and lemon zest between the four plates.
Classic Handy Sazerac Cocktail
The official cocktail of New Orleans, the Sazerac has a long history that involves a one-time bourbon baron by the name of Thomas Handy.
Peachy Java Cream
An after dinner dessert cocktail reminiscent of peaches and cream.
Your cooking with Honig Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford so serve it to guests who prefer a white wine. Light enough to counter the bourbon but complex enough to handle the intensity.
2012 Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir
Sonoma Coast balances the intensity of the bourbon with the sweetness of the frog meat.
49th State 6th Degree Belgm Blonde A fresh beer, it does not over power the sauced frog legs.
For those who prefer something a bit bolder, what better than Andygater from Abita Brewing in Louisiana. Brewed to stand up to Cajun and Creole cooking, it offers a bold taste with out over powering the entree.
Louisiana Gouda Grits with Shrimp and Bourbon Coffee Drizzle The recipe increases flavor by turning the grits into cakes, adding a drizzle and topping with orange zest.
Pointe Coupee Muffuletta Heirlooms. Takes the great flavors of a muffuletta sandwich and stuffs them in heirloom tomatoes.
Catahoula Peaches Patty Ann.
A traditional Cajun dessert, the peaches have a wonderful cinnamon aroma with a flavor boost from the peach liquor.
Delta Fried Green Tomatoes with Roasted Corn Creole Sauce. Crunch with a bit of heat, this version of fried green tomatoes combines fresh whole wheat bread crumbs with instant corn masa flour to provide a tremendous crunch and corn flavor.
Frenchmen Street Red Beans and Black. A traditional New Orleans side dish, this version adds a nutty twist.