Growing up I never realized quite how different eating frog legs really was. While I was certainly exposed to typical American fare, a lot of our food came from the land, including a variety of wild animals and fish. To me they were a delicacy enjoyed only a few times a year, to my schoolmates this was unheard of, and to my father and grandfather, this was just a way of life.
For my grandfather growing up deep in the Adirondacks in the late 1930s, eating frog legs, or any other wild animal was a normal occurrence. How else were you going to get dinner? It’s not like there was a grocery store down the street, and even if there was it’s not like they could afford it. Now, they are a little harder to come by, finding frogs big enough with all the protected predators around now can be tricky. These days we cook them simply and savor the genuine flavor that they come with.
Later in life, I did learn that frog legs were a French delicacy, and more recently I have even started to see them on the menus of new hipster joints. The unfortunate things are that they always seem to be served Buffalo style. As an upstate NY-er, I love my fair share of buffalo wings and even have a few strong opinions of them (no breading ever please), but to take something with such a beautifully delicate flavor as frog legs, bread them and fry them you might as well have thrown them in the dirt. Breaded fried food all takes on the same one-dimensional flavor which then has to be tossed with buffalo sauce to bring back any kind of individuality, completely hiding what the original thing was, to begin with. They become unrecognizable and it’s a depressing waste if you ask me.
This recipe takes it back to the basics, you could say its French-inspired since there’s a pretty heavy hand with the butter, but not so much that it masks the true flavor of this not quite fish and not quite land animal. I like them served just like this, sometimes with a squeeze of lemon or some extra herbs, but to each his own.
Simple sautéed Frog Legs
- 1 lb frog legs about 15 sets
- 5-6 tablespoons butter
In a large skillet heat the butter over medium high heat, until melted. Generously salt and pepper both side of the frog legs and add to the pan (you may need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding, add more butter as needed).
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then flip and sauté for 1-2 minutes or until a golden crust forms on both sides, and the legs are cooked through.
Remove from heat and serve immediately.