Although frog legs are associated with the delights of French cuisine, in addition to France, they are cooked and served in many other countries like Portugal, Spain, Vietnam, the USA, Mexico and China. Delicate, juicy, low-calorie frog meat has truly won worldwide fame and has become a favorite dish of real gourmets. But why is it so pricey? What makes leg frogs so unique?
Why are frog legs so expensive? Frog legs are so expensive as the demand exceeds the supply. The Department of Agriculture banned uncontrolled fishing in 1977, and frogs are now imported from overseas — Cuba, the USA, Indonesia. Cost of transportation, lack of frogs after uncontrolled fishing and huge demand make frog legs so expensive.
How much do frog legs cost? According to Citarella, one pound of frog legs (4-6 legs) costs $17.5. As for restaurants, expect to pay $15-$20 per serving of frog legs as an entree. If it is a premium restaurant, the frog legs dish will cost up to $70. The average price of frog legs as main dishes at a restaurant in Paris is $30-$40.
Frog Legs History — Where Did Frog Legs Originate From
Frog legs have become the hallmark of French cuisine. Despite the popularity of this dish among tourists, frogs are a rare delicacy even for the French themselves. Also, France is not the only country to eat this delicacy. The Italians can rightfully be considered the record holder, where these amphibians have been eaten for so long that they have become an ordinary and unremarkable food.
The first frog dish appeared in France in the XIV century during the war with England as a forced means of fighting widespread hunger. Frog legs, which initially became a salvation for the poor, “migrated” to the tables of the aristocracy by the 19th century, becoming not only in demand but also very expensive.
Several centuries later, dishes from frog legs began to appear in the Caribbean’s cuisines, the southern continent in America, Southeast Asia and Europe, where, based on national traditions, their culinary characteristics were introduced into the recipes for their preparation.
After some time, the resourceful French, continuing to experiment with the preparation of frog meat, almost exterminated their own populations of these amphibians. Indeed, to collect one kilogram of frog legs, they had to catch about twenty kilograms of live frogs. The Ministry of Agriculture banned uncontrolled fishing in 1977, and the bulk of the frog delicacy is currently imported from other countries: Cuba, the United States, and Indonesia.
Currently, several states are engaged in the commercial production of this gourmet product. Frog legs are popular in India and Vietnam, from where frog legs in the frozen and packed form are exported to countries worldwide.
Properly cooked frog legs are truly a gourmet dish. They are surprisingly appetizing, juicy, taste like chicken or rabbit meat, but much softer and more tender. Only the upper parts of the frog’s hind legs are eaten. They have a pale pink color and are similar in texture to chicken wings. In terms of taste, this delicacy product is not inferior to the meat of shrimps, oysters, mussels and other valuable seafood.
National Frog Legs Day in the USA
Frog Legs Day in the United States is celebrated on February 29, once every 4 years. The holiday has gastronomic significance. National Frog’s Legs Day is the brainchild of John-Brian Hopkins, a blogger and social media consultant based in the US state of Alabama.
But aside from being a bit of a joke, frog legs are a popular menu item in many cuisines and cultures and are popular in the southern United States. Given this popularity, it’s understandable why Fellsmere, Florida, hosts the world’s largest annual Frog’s Legs Festival.
The festival dates back to 1990 when a small group of Fellsmere residents decided to organize an event that would entertain the children of the city and gain local fame. After several brainstorming sessions, the group decided that celebrating Frog’s Legs Day over the weekend would do the trick.
Locals managed to catch about 400 pounds of frogs in the swamps surrounding Fellsmere, expecting enough to be enough. Naturally, they were wrong, and the frog’s legs dinners were sold out within hours after the city became the center of the universe for one day.
The festival has now turned into a huge three to four-day party. The event attracts over 80,000 people over one weekend and sells 7,000 pounds of frog legs to hungry customers. Simultaneously, the world’s largest festival of frog legs, the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, is held in January.
Cooking Frog Legs
Frog legs are used for cooking fresh or frozen. They are fried in a skillet or grill, stewed with vegetables, boiled, breaded in breadcrumbs, or rolled in flour and baked. They are prepared almost instantly.
What do frog legs go with? Frog legs meat goes well with herbs, spices, garlic, porcini mushrooms, nuts, vegetables (especially tomatoes), chicken eggs. It is added to pasta and cereal dishes for interesting flavor combinations. Some chefs stuff frog legs with spinach, finding such an unusual dish delicious and healthy.
Frog legs are used in a wide variety of recipes and combined with many foods. In French cuisine, they are used to prepare tender and spicy fricassee, and in Asian countries, mouth-watering dishes seasoned with various spicy gravies have become widespread.
You can cook a tasty soup with frog legs or stew them in sour cream, creamy or soy sauce to obtain a juicy and mouth-watering dish. You can serve frog legs independently or in addition to various cereals. Before cooking, meat is usually soaked in water and then marinated with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, wine, or milk.
Skilfully prepared frog legs help diversify the traditional and festive menu, bringing a special, delicate taste to the usual culinary recipes.
Frog Legs Health Benefits
Are frog legs good for you? Frog legs are a truly ideal component of any dietary menu, and are almost free of cholesterol, do not contain animal fat and are an excellent source of protein, which plays an important role for the human body. Frog legs are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamins D, E, K, C, PP and group B.
Frog meat is considered an environmentally friendly and safe food product since these amphibians live exclusively in reservoirs with clean water. The skin of frog legs contains a special component that normalizes blood circulation and has a beneficial effect on the work of blood vessels and the heart. In the states of East Asia, it is dried specially and then used to prepare a medicinal tincture, with the help of which dropsy is cured, and toothache is eliminated.
Frog meat has a bactericidal, disinfectant and anti-edema effect. Selenium helps to rid the weakened body of inflammatory processes. Experts have found that frog meat is an excellent agent that prevents malignant tumors in the brain.