My dear friend Soraya (who I have accidently been dodging for about ten years) recently asked (instructed) me to post more ‘non-pork’ recipes on my site. Since I realise the sad truth that there are many people across the world who don’t just live off bacon (I pity you), here’s a recipe which we can all get behind…the frogs’ legs quesadilla.
If you’ve eaten frogs’ legs before, you’ll know that once you get past the ‘weird’ feeling of sticking a slimy green beast in your mouth (I’m not helping, am I?), the taste of the meat is actually great – the same consistency as chicken with a hint of ‘seafoody’ yum. If you have them in a restaurant, however, they will often be breaded and absolutely DROWNED in garlic and butter, which means that sometimes you can’t really get to the actual taste of the meat.
In this recipe I do use butter and garlic, but not too much – then take the meat off the bones and use as a quesadilla replacement for chicken, pork or beef. In fact the ideal mealtime situation is to make 3 or 4 different quesadillas, each with a different ‘meat’ in them (or vegetarian if you’re that way inclined), and let people have a bit of variety on their plate and in their belly.
If (for whatever reason) you can’t get your hands on fresh frogs’ legs, frozen ones are really easy to use too – I picked up a packet of 20 or so in my local freezer section and they defrost in 15 minutes in a bowl of cold water.
Filling alternatives – ok I’m not stupid, some people won’t try this because they are freaked out by the idea of eating frogs – but you can be pretty creative about what you put into these bad boys (it’s basically a large baked sandwich after all!). Try different types of peppers, roasted mushrooms, aubergines, courgettes, fish, black beans and of course – chili peppers with everything!
Cheesey, meaty, crispy quesadillas - filled with delicious garlicy (garlicky?) frog meat
- Frogs legs - 10 pairs (fully defrosted if frozen or fresh)
- Red pepper - Cut into small thin strips
- Green pepper - Cut into small thin strips
- Yellow pepper - Cut into small thin strips
- Onion - Half an onion (red or white), diced
- Mushroom - 50g
- Garlic - 1 clove, minced or chopped very small
- Rosemary - 0.25 tsp dried and crushed
- Buffalo mozzarella - 100g (one 'ball'), drained of its liquid
- Emmental cheese - 100g grated cheese (you can exchange for cheddar or other medium/hard cheeses)
The ingredients list here is enough to make two quesadillas, so be prepared to increase or decrease your quantities accordingly. If you're using 10 pairs of frogs' legs then you'll get enough meat for one or maybe two quesadillas, so it might be a good idea to have some cooked beef or chicken on hand just in case for variety...
- There are three parts to cooking quesadillas - the first is preparing the fillings, the second is assembling the dish and the third is baking it in the oven. Since we're doing frog meat quesadillas, we have to prepare our little green friends first
- First we're going to fry the frog meat, so heat up big teaspoon of butter in a frying pan and mix your clove of crushed garlic. Heat it up at around 60% heat until the butter has melted, then cover the bottom of the pan with the frogs legs. They should be a translucent pink colour when they go in, and you'll fry them (turning every minute) until they're a solid white colour
- Remove your frogs from the pan and leave them to cool on a chopping board. After a few minutes (just make sure you don't burn your fingers!) peel the meat from the frog bones. It should just fall away very easily. Put it in a bowl and set to one side for later. If you're not a fan of frog meat (HOW DARE YOU!) then you can of course substitute thinly cut grilled beef, shredded chicken or pulled pork - but where's the fun in that?
- Next up you need to cook your other fillings. To prepare the vegetables, cut your onion into very small cubes (dice it), cut the peppers into small thin strips and your mushrooms into strips the size of matchsticks.
- Heat up a clean frying pan with a teaspoon of peanut oil. Chuck your onions and peppers into the pan and fry for 3 minutes, then add the finely sliced mushrooms and cook for another 90 seconds. Sprinkle the rosemary in stir it around, then remove from the heat
- Now it's time to assemble the quesadilla. You're basically making a sandwich, with one tortilla on top and one on the bottom, and all the ingredients (including lots of cheese) inside. Start by rubbing a little peanut or sunflower oil all over a baking tray (I cover mine with foil sometimes to make it easier to clean up, but if you do that remember to put oil on the foil)
- Next rub a thin coat (really a quick wipe) of oil on both sides of all of your tortillas, then place your first one down on the foil tray
- Put the frog meat onto the tortilla, and spread it around so it covers the whole thing (you want to try to make a nice even layer of meat)
- Now spoon your pepper mixture over the meat and again, make sure that you don't have huge clumps and piles of the stuff - spread it out
- Now you want to add your buffalo mozzarella - which you should have drained 30 minutes before cooking so that it's easy to cut and relatively dry. Make sure it's cut into smallish chunks and spread out across the tortilla. You're seeing the pattern now, right?
- Finally sprinkle a large handful of grated cheese across the whole lot - again trying to keep a good uniform layer of food. Don't be stingy with the cheese, you want to make sure it has lots of melted goodness inside. When you're finished, put the second tortilla on top and gently press it down and you should have your quesadilla ready for the oven
- Bake at 425f/220c for 8-10 minutes or until you can see that the cheese has melted and the tortilla is golden brown
- Remove from the oven and place on a chopping board and with a very sharp knife, cut into four wedge shaped quarters
- Serve while it's hot! Consider a tangy potato salad, green leaves and of course, a few bottles of Corona (or Desperados!)