I used to live near Chinatown in New York City, and the frog’s legs I’d get there were cheap and plump. People always joke that they taste like chicken, but they don’t really. They have a poultry-like texture with a faint aquatic aroma that is a tasty union of land and sea. In the same spirit, here’s a wonderful union of a classic French technique of cooking frog’s legs in brown butter merged with my love for Southeast Asian fish sauce.
- Yield: 4 as an appetizer
- 8 ounces frog’s legs
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dry white wine
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon fish sauce
- ¼ teaspoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Leaves from 2 celery hearts
- A small handful of baby tat-soi or watercress leaves
- 2 ounces snow peas, cut diagonally into thin julienne
- Using kitchen shears, cut the legs at the joints and discard the feet if they came attached.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over high heat and, stirring constantly, allow the butter to brown slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. The butter will take on a nutty aroma. Turn the heat down to medium and add the frog’s legs. Brown for 2 minutes on each side. Add the white wine, red pepper flakes, fish sauce, vinegar, salt, and pepper in quick succession. Sauté for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
- Add the celery leaves, tat-soi leaves, and snow peas to the frog’s legs and toss gently. Serve immediately.