Happy National Frog Legs Day!
Or should we say hoppy National Frog Legs Day? No, we probably shouldn’t make that leap. We’re normally not shy about jumping at the chance to be witty but we don’t want make you green with nausea from such a ridiculous pun. Time flies and we don’t want to be toad that we wasted it with silly jokes.
Frog legs are a famous – or, if you’re not a fan, infamous – delicacy of French and Chinese cuisines. However, they’re also eaten in Slovenia, Vietnam, Albania, Spain, Indonesia, Thailand, regions of Portugal and Greece, and the southern parts of the US. Obviously not every frog is edible. The most common frogs that are harvested from the wild as food are the green frog, leopard frog and the pickerel frog, though the American Bullfrog is believed to be the most commonly farmed frog in the world.
Be aware that frog legs aren’t without controversy. It’s estimated that over 1 billion frogs are taken from the wild to be consumed by humans, and that certainly isn’t a small number. Furthermore, frogs that are farmed tend to have high rates of chytrid infection, an infectious disease that can devastate frog populations or cause the extinction of an entire species. Consider as well that farmed frogs are quite often not native species, can end up preying on native frogs, and therefore represent a threat to some ecosystems. So, think about preparing a substitute as a creative take on frog legs in the name of sustainability.
If you’re wondering what beverages to pair with frog legs (or substitutes made to taste like frog legs), we have a few suggestions. Should you want to offer wine, both crisp, mineral and rich, tropical examples of Viognier from California pair well. Consider Viognier produced by Stag’s Leap, Miner, Zaca Mesa, and Praxis. Of course, since frog legs are similar to chicken wings, beer plays well the them. Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin, Samuel Adams Rebel Grapefruit IPA and New Belgium Brewing Citradelic are 3 examples of excellent beers to pair with frog legs or flavorful substitutes.
While you or your guests are enjoying their legs, feel free to discuss the following:
- While it may have been considered a delicacy in France, China and other countries, frog legs were considered disgusting by the British in the early 20th century. In order to make them acceptable, a chef at the Carlton Hotel in London listed them on the menu as 'cuisses de nymphes aurore', or “legs of the dawn nymphs.” What’s in a name, indeed.
- The Bullfrog is the Official Amphibian of Oklahoma as of 1997.
- The North American Bullfrog was named the Official State Amphibian of Missouri in 2005.
- The Bullfrog was designated the Official Frog of Ohio in 2010.
- Rayne, Louisiana, is known as the Frog Capital of the World.
- Indonesia is the largest exporter of frogs.
- Frog legs are an excellent source of protein, potassium, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.