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Frog Leg Frenzy

Jim Gossen whipped up a platter of fried frog legs for Paul Sedillo and I yesterday. Gossen had just come back from Louisiana with a new shipment of bullfrogs and he wanted us to taste them.

He cut the legs from the torso and then the legs were dunked in buttermilk and dipped in seasoned flour and fried in hot oil–just like fried chicken.

Gossen saves the torsos to make stocks and sauces for sauteed frog leg dishes. With the crispy fried frog legs that Paul and I ate, Gossen recommended a sweet and hot Asian dipping sauce that came in a bottle.

Wondering why so many Houston chefs and food lovers are talking about frogs lately? The explanation is pretty simple.

Every week Jim Gossen’s company, Louisiana Foods, publishes a Gulf Seafood market report. Every chef in town reads the report to see what varieties of fish are in season, what’s cheap and abundant and what’s going to be hard to find. At the top of the report, Louisiana Foods features one of its products. This week, the featured item is frog. Gossen is appealing to his steady customers to try this new addition to his product list.

Frog legs are nothing new. I always order some with my fish a la plancha at Tampico. But the frog legs that are currently dominating the market come frozen from China. What’s new is an effort to revive the bullfrog business in Louisiana. The BP oil spill has idled a lot of Louisiana fishermen and seafood processors. According to Jim Gossen, the Louisiana seafood industry hopes that reviving the bullfrog market might be way to take up some of the slack.

The bullfrogs Gossen is bringing in as part of this experiment are a lot bigger than the Chinese frogs and obviously a lot fresher–in fact Gossen is driving them over himself the same day they are killed. The Louisiana frogs are also expensive–somewhere around ten dollars a pound for whole frogs. To justify the expense, a chef has got to find some creative things to do with the bigger, better frog legs. Something that will get everybody in town talking…

The Louisiana frog legs Gossen served us were much better that the puny Chinese frog legs. The meat was tender and juicy and the flavor was very delicate. People offer compare frog legs to chicken, but I think it tastes more like iguana.

5 comments to Frog Leg Frenzy

  • Sam

    Great post – but some think the taste is best described as a cross between bald eagle and Florida manatee…

  • jim

    The whole fried bullfrogs I had last weekend at Beaver’s tasted just like whooping crane!

    Actually, this is a great bit of news about beleaugered farmers (frogboys?) finding a profitable niche in times of adversity. I was one of those Midwestern farm kids in “Farm Crisis” of the early ’80s who had a goofy notion that there might be a high-end niche market for small-brand ultra-premium products like hormone-free beef and free-range pork. Fortunately, the older and wiser farmers (all of whom wound up losing their farms to the agricorps) convinced us that such a crazy idea would never work.

  • The first time I read the second to the last paragraph, I thought it said, “in fact Gossen is driving over them himself” instead of “driving them over”, giving me a great mental image of a guy in a pickup running over a bunch of frogs!

  • Elizabeth

    Are they from Rayne, LA??

  • Amosw

    Just had the frog at Bootsie’s this week – tasted like a cross between crab and chicken, DELICIOUS. Look out Kermit…