Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Frog Legs

   The thing we always liked best about frog legs was being out at night hunting them. The fact that they taste really good was just frosting on the cake. We hunted frogs pretty well every time we were out fishing and we'd use our fishing poles to catch them. You just tie a three prong hook on your line and once you spot a frog you sneak up to him, reach out and lay the hook beside him and jerk it across his back. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred you will snag him with the hook. You just have to pay attention while you're sneaking around the water watching for frog eyes to shine in your light because snake eyes also shine and you don't really want to be snagging a big cottonmouth when you're wanting frog legs.

   The easiest way to fix the legs is to just add a little salt and pepper to them and fry them in hot oil. You can do them under real quick by holding their back feet and whacking their heads against a tree or rock. To clean them just make a slit through the skin across the back right above the legs. You can peel the skin off with your fingers but it's a lot easier if you have a pair of pliers. You just get a hold of the skin and pull down and the skin will come off just like taking his pants off. Cut the legs off just above the hips and remove the feet. Fry them in about an inch of hot oil about three minutes on each side. They seem to taste a lot better cooked this way if you're camping out. Of course we always thought that even eggs had a lot better taste when you fix them out in the woods.

   You can also get fancy with them. Season them with salt, pepper, oregano and basil. Add two tablespoons of butter to a ten inch fry pan and when it melts add two teaspoons of lemon juice. Cook the legs a couple of minutes on each side the add a quarter cup of red wine and finish them off as the wine reduces. Add a small cold salad and you will have the same dish they serve in some high class restaurants.

   Another good way to fix legs is to use them as part of a wilderness fish stew. Most everyone who has everyone any camping has a version of these. Stanley and I had two different versions. One was purely from what we could gather from the woods and the other one was if we happened to be close to someone's fields or gardens where we could "liberate" a few extra goodies.

Wilderness Fish Stew:

   At least six pair of frog legs

   What every kind of fish you can catch. If you can get good sized one then filet               them and cut the filets into chunks about an inch square. If their small, like perch, just cut the heads and fins off, gut and scale them and use them whole.

   Half a dozen wild onions

   Three wild garlic including tops

   A handful of dandelion greens

   Cat tail stalks cut in two to three inch strips (use the bottom foot or so. Peel the outer leaves and just use the core)

   A handful of black mustard greens

   Salt and pepper to taste

   Put one quart of water in a pot and bring to a boil then dump everything in except the   frog legs and fish. Let everything boil for about half an hour then add the legs and let them boil for about ten minutes before adding the fish. Keep it boiling for another twenty minutes then move to the side of the campfire and let it cool down for about fifteen minutes. If you happen to be around where you can gather a few things for some one's fields or gardens without getting shot you can add some corn for taste and some okra to thicken the stew.