FROGS’ LEGS: A TYPICALLY FRENCH SPECIALITY?
When you ask people around the world to name a typically French culinary speciality, the answer is often unanimous: frogs’ legs. Indeed, this delicacy is rarely consumed even in France’s neighbouring cultures in Western Europe. People’s fascination is driven not only by curiosity, but also disgust.
The fact that the French eat frogs’ legs is deeply rooted in the European collective consciousness, and it is not for nothing that their British neighbours, who are also known for their excellent gastronomy, have nicknamed them “frogs”. But is it really true? Is the consumption of frogs really so commonplace? Can we catch frogs or do we have to breed them? How do we cook these amphibians? So many questions! This article aims to answer them.
DO THE FRENCH REALLY EAT FROGS’ LEGS?
First up, the fact that the French eat frogs is not some totally unfounded misconception. France does get through almost 4000 tonnes of them each year. To put this figure into perspective, though: Its annual snail consumption is just under 16,000 tonnes. The long and the short of it is that the majority of French people do not consume frogs’ legs.
It is not a typical dish like veal stew or quiche Lorraine, which can be found on almost every plate in the country. Traditionally eaten in the countryside, since the 18th century frogs have become a real delicacy of French gastronomy. Somewhere between clichés and haute cuisine, the latter has contributed to French stereotypes. But they’re certainly not the only ones who consume frogs.
Frogs are consumed almost all over the world. France’s German neighbours get through a tonne of them. On the other hand, they have a relatively important place in American cuisine, especially in Louisiana. This may be due to the fact that it is a former French colony. There, settlers brought the tradition with them. The city of Rayne is nicknamed “Frog City” and “Frog Capital of the World”. We were a bit surprised it wasn’t Lyon or Paris!
FROGS: FISH OR FARM?
The idyllic image of the fisherman is very real. It is actually possible to fish frogs. However, you need to know what you’re doing before putting them on your plate, as some species are poisonous. It is estimated that 99 % of the frogs consumed in France are farmed. What surprises many people is the fact that most of the frogs consumed in France are actually grown in Indonesia and sold frozen.
Fresh frogs sold in France often come from Turkey and are sold at prices similar to those of domestic frogs. From time to time there are even controversies involving restaurants which play on the image of eating frogs in France: They portray it as part of French culture, even though diners are often unaware that they are eating frogs from elsewhere.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FROGS’ LEGS?
There are several ways to consume the French’s favourite amphibians. The thighs are the most important part. If you are successful in your search for frogs, there are plenty of videos online showing you the best ways to prepare them.
The classic method of preparing frogs is to deep-fry them. From a distance they look like breaded chicken wings. It is also possible to prepare them in a pan with parsley butter. Many testers say their consistency is reminiscent of chicken. The taste often reminds people of fish. Are you ready to try them? Order frogs’ legs for your next dinner party! You will find many addresses online. And if you want to eat French, remember to check the origin! Why not visit the website of frog breeder Pierre François.