The Food Almanac: March 30, 2011

Staff Writer
Get your day off to an appetizing start with food facts and trivia from Tom Fitzmorris.
Frog legs from Herbsaint Restaurant, New Orleans.
The New Orleans Menu

Frog legs from Herbsaint Restaurant, New Orleans.

In The Food Almanac, Tom Fitzmorris of the online newsletter, The New Orleans Menu notes food facts and sayings.

Eating Calendar
This is Frog Legs Day. Most people turn up their noses at the idea of eating frog legs, but if they had ever tried them (and they probably haven't), they would wonder what the problem was. Frog legs have a texture similar to but lighter than chicken. There is no flavor affinity at all, no matter what you've heard. Nor do they taste like fish. The only meat that reminds me of frog legs is alligator.

Many species of frogs are harvested for their meat. Bullfrogs — whose legs can be larger than chicken wings — are the most common along the Gulf Coast. More prized are the legs of smaller frogs from a genus known descriptively enough as "edible frogs." They're usually sold by the pair, and include the small foot. Frog legs are mild enough in flavor that they're usually served with a light butter sauce, often with a touch of garlic and herbs. The greatest challenge to cooking your own frog legs is finding them. Most of ones available in stores are frozen. So if you see fresh ones, grab them. Also grab a quart of buttermilk to use as a marinade.

Religion in Eating
For purposes of Lenten fasting and abstinence for Catholics, frog legs are considered seafood. (I checked.) So is turtle meat.

Gourmet Geography
Frog is a relict town on the old US 80 and the Texas and Pacific Railroad, 43 miles east of downtown Dallas, Texas. When it was in its prime — in the early 1900s — it was a settlement of 30 or so African-American families who worked for the railroad. Most of them were of two extended families. This was enough to support two churches and a school. One of the churches is still active. No restaurants are in Frog, but there's an off-chance frogs might be on the menu at Fisherman's Delight, six miles south in Kaufman.

Edible Dictionary
fritot or friteau, [free-TOE], French, n. — A small piece of meat or seafood, dipped into a light batter, and fried. The most common foods made into fritots are: frog legs, oysters, crawfish, mussels, and small pieces of fish. They're usually served on a platter with a variety of items as an appetizer.

Deft Dining Rule #234
Let someone else at the table order the mixed platter of fried tidbits. Get the ceviche instead.