Frog's Legs Persille
Frog's legs are delicious, mild, and easy to love even the first time you try them. The smaller they are, the better. I like to marinate them in buttermilk, like fried chicken, before cooking.
- 8 pairs of small frogs' legs
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp. green Tabasco
- Persillade sauce:
- 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 15 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup flour
- 1 Tbs. salt
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. thyme
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1/2 cup clarified butter
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
1. Wash the frogs' legs, then marinate them in the refrigerator for two hours in a food storage bag with the buttermilk and the Tabasco.
2. For the persille sauce, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and parsley. Cook until the parsley is wilted and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from the heat. Scoop the pan contents into a small food processor, blender, or (most effective) mortar and pestle. Add 1/4 tsp. salt and puree the mixture. Spoon the mixture into one corner of a small plastic bag (like a sandwich bag).
3. Combine the flour, salt, white pepper and thyme in a wide bowl. Shake the excess buttermilk off the frogs' legs. Coat them lightly with the flour mixture.
4. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it's melted, add the crushed garlic clove. When the butter is bubbling, add the frogs' legs and sauté until golden, turning once. Remove and drain the frogs' legs. Whisk in the vinegar.
5. Place the frogs' legs on serving plates. Spoon the butter from the pan onto the plates, trying to avoid picking up the solids on the bottom of the pan.
6. With scissors, snip off the corner of the plastic bag with the parsley mixture. Squeeze out lines of the persille across the frog's legs. Garnish with lemon halves.
This dish takes advantage of the resemblance alligator tail meat has--in texture, color, and weight--to baby white veal. The hardest part of this dish is finding the alligator. If you can't, you can use veal, pork loin, or even chicken. Oddly enough, the best side dish for this is buttered stone-ground grits.
- 1 lb. alligator tail meat, sliced across the grain, 1/4 inch thick
- All-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. white pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
- 1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, with 1/2 cup of the juice
- 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
1. Dust the alligator cutlets very lightly with flour and a little salt and white pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet to just shy of smoking temperature and sauté the cutlets about a minute on each side. Remove from the skillet and keep warm.
2. In the remaining olive oil, sauté the onion, bell pepper, celery, fennel, and parsley until tender. Chop the tomatoes and add them to the skillet with the tomato juice, parsley, cayenne, lemon juice, and white wine. Bring to a simmer.
3. Return the alligator cutlets to the pan and cook them in the sauce for two or three minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve with lots of sauce and hot buttered grits on the side.
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