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Frog legs

February 20, 2012

The first time I ate frog legs was at a Mexican restaurant in Matamoros called Garcia’s. I was probably about 10 years old. I’m not sure if I ordered them or if one of my parents did, but I remember they came fried, in a large pile along side an equally large pile of french fries. I was liberal with the ketchup and I remember thinking they tasted like chicken. I wasn’t moved by the experience.

Garcia’s is (from what I remember) a stone’s throw away from the border. Brownsville would be the bordering town, and we would visit Matamoros frequently during trips to the Valley. Alcohol, silver, blown glass, and medications would be the top reasons for crossing the border. Or at least my Mom and Aunt’s reasons for crossing, as well as stopping at Garcia’s. Garcia’s also served these really great nachos. The chips were huge and fried. There was a clean layer of refried beans, just the right amount of melted cheese and generous slices of pickled jalapenos. This on the other hand was moving. At least for the 10-year-old me.

Garlic-Herb pesto

Since then, I’ve always been intrigued and fascinated with frog legs. Perhaps it’s because they are slightly exotic and they remind me of Louisiana ( a healthy obsession of mine). I’ll order them if they are on the menu and usually hope they will be. The most recent time I enjoyed them was over a year ago while on holiday in Miami. I remember it was at a French restaurant off Lincoln Blvd., it was cold (December after all, and unusually cold) and they were tiny legs swimming in butter. Overshadowed by butter really, and I do like butter. Only memorable because of the company and the wonderful Kir Royales that seemed bottomless that night. (Yes the Kir Royale). The frog legs on the other hand were secondary.

I once dated a Pole who described frog legs perfectly. He said they were they result of  a tryst between a chicken and a fish. Isn’t that the truth? They really are.

Recently I’ve enjoyed a garlic-herb pesto swirled into Israeli couscous, far too much. I had a thought. They (Israeli couscous) look very much like eggs, so why not serve the frog legs along side this very addictive concoction of couscous. Frogs with their eggs.

As my luck would have it I came across some frog legs while perusing (yet again) the  protein case at Phoenicia downtown. Rather, after I spotted the frog legs, I knew I wanted to serve them along side the herbed couscous. Serendipity, yes.

Salt, pepper and olive oil. I kept it simple. They were seared appropriately on both sides, then I deglazed the pan with lemon juice and some ‘recovered’ butter that I had stashed in the freezer. Sections of romaine went in next with a good sprinkle of chili flakes.

As I sat eating this for lunch today (with my hands), I couldn’t help think of a fractured foot. Not an Ape’s foot, just a regular person’s foot.

A little gross I admit. But eating frog legs is: navigating through tiny bones much like a fractured foot. Delicious all the same. Dare I say, bacon and or champagne would have completed the medley?

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