Tempura-battered Frog Legs with Arugula Creamy Tartar Sauce
The cliché is always, “tastes like chicken.” But frog legs are relatively easy to find at large groceries or specialty stores, and provide their own panache. These are formed into little drumsticks, then dipped in tempura batter flavored with saffron and fried until crisp. The sauce includes hard-boiled eggs, capers, shallots, herbs, and cornichons, among other good things.
- Mustard - 1⁄2 teaspoon
- Egg Yolks - 2
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peanut or Vegetable oil - 2 cups
- Red Wine Vinegar - 1⁄2 teaspoon
- Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Hard-boiled egg - 1
- Heavy Cream - 1⁄2 cup, whipped
- Mayonnaise - 1-1⁄2 cups
- Capers - 1 ounce
- Shallot - 2, peeled and minced
- Cornichons or Gherkins - 2
- Fresh Herbs - 2 tablespoons, chopped (one or more of the following: parsley, chervil, tarragon, or chives)
- Fresh lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Peanut Oil - 2 cups
- Fresh Parsley - 1 bunch, stems removed, flowers separated
- Frog Legs
- Frog Legs - 1 pound, (6 to 8 per pound)
- Tempura Batter - 1, 8-ounce box, purchased
- Pinch of saffron
- Peanut Oil - 2 quarts
To make the mayonnaise: In a medium bowl beat the mustard, egg yolks, salt, and pepper with a whisk or an electric beater until thick. Gradually whisk the oil into the egg mixture, starting with 1 drop at a time. When 2 or 3 tablespoons of the oil have been whisked into the eggs, pour in the rest of the oil in a fine stream while whisking constantly. Add the vinegar and lemon juice to the mixture 1 teaspoon at a time, whisking constantly until smooth. Cover and store up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
To make the sauce: Separate the yolk from the white of the hard-boiled egg, and finely chop the egg white. In a deep bowl whip the cream until soft peaks form. Place the prepared mayonnaise in a second mixing bowl and quickly fold in the whipped cream. Continue folding until the mixture is stiff and forms a liaison. Add the capers, shallots, cornichons or gerkins, and chopped egg white. Add the fresh herb mixture. Season with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
To make the garnish: Wash and dry parsley flowers. In a medium saucepan heat the peanut oil to 350 F over high heat. Quickly add the dried parsley, a few handfuls at a time. Be careful, as the parsley will kind of explode. With a long-handled strainer remove the parsley to paper towels and drain.
To prepare the frog legs: Wash the frog legs and blot dry. Season with salt and pepper. Separate each pair into single legs. Remove the shank with its meat attached, and reserve for another purpose. The shank is the smallest of the two joints with the least meat attached. Beginning at the cut end, scrape the meat down to form a sort of ball with most of the bone clean and exposed. The shape will be something of a drumstick. You will have a nice clump of meat with its own “handle.”
Prepare the tempura batter according to the manufacturer’s directions, adding a pinch of saffron. Just before serving, pour the oil into a large saucepan and heat to 350 F over high heat. Dip the frog legs into the tempura batter, shaking off any excess batter. Fry the frog legs until golden brown, turning with a wire skimmer, 1 to 2 minutes total. Work in several batches so as not to crowd the pan. Drain the frog legs on paper towels.
To assemble: Place 2 tablespoons of the sauce in the center of each plate. Divide the frog legs among 4 dinner plates, placing on top of the sauce. Sprinkle the fried parsley around the plate and serve immediately.