Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Southern Fried Frog Legs with Neon Marjoram Louisiana Remoulade

     Buttermilk Batter Fried Frog Legs With A Tasty Louisiana Remoulade
     "Southern Fried" pretty much means coating a food item with a combination of buttermilk and seasoned flour, then pan frying the item in a cast iron skillet.  The frying medium for southern fried recipes is pork lard, animal fat grease of nearly any kind or a combination of animal fat lard and vegetable oil.  
     From a traditional standpoint, lard is the best frying medium of them all, because it has a high smoking point and it carries flavor.  Pan frying in a shallow amount of oil or lard produces the best fried food flavor.  
     When Frog Legs are southern fried with a buttermilk batter, the crispy golden brown coating seals the natural flavor of the frog legs in.  The buttermilk coating has much more flavor than an egg batter and flour coating.  
     Crispy golden brown, is a golden expression in more ways than one!  Old school chefs refer to "crispy golden brown" by the letters "CGB."  A talented fry cook that turns out one crispy golden brown item after another is a real asset to seafood restaurant.  The first thought of a seafood restaurant manager that hires a great fry cook is "Man!  We are going to make some great money tonight!"  

     Neon Relish
     Neon Relish is a Chicago specialty.  The last time that I featured Neon Relish in recipes was a few years ago, when I was working in Chicago.  Just about the only traditional recipe in the world that officially features Neon Relish is a Chicago Style Hot Dog.  
     Since most people do not eat Chicago Hot Dogs for every meal, a jar of Neon Relish can end up sitting in the refrigerator for quite a spell.  Creating new recipes with Neon Relish kind of helps people to get some ideas about how to put this classic condiment to use.  
     When creating recipes with Neon Relish, the word "Neon" or the words "Neon Relish" should be part of the recipe title.  This is because the name of this relish creates customer interest, and the high quality of Neon Relish is a sales point.
      Neon Relish has a unique Greek spice flavor and the color is bright aquamarine blue green.  The original Neon Relish is made by a company in Chicago and it is difficult to find this original product outside of the Chicago region.  The original Neon Relish does have the best color and flavor.  The Vienna Hot Dog Company markets a product that is called Chicago Style Relish, which is nearly the same as the original Neon Relish.  Relish connoisseurs will notice the subtle differences between these two products and the original clearly stands above the other.  Even so, both products are high quality items that will please any gourmet sweet relish fan.  
     Louisiana Remoulade
     Creole Mustard is a necessity, when making a Louisiana Remoulade.  Creole Mustard has a unique zesty flavor that cannot be compared to French or German mustard varieties.  Some European mustards are similar, but none are an exact match.
     There are several kinds of Louisiana Remoulade and all are identified by their color.  The most common have a pink or orange color.  This color comes from the addition of catsup.  
     Catsup is easy to make from scratch, but buying a bottle of organic catsup will save money.  Organic catsup is closest to the original catsup recipe.  Catsup originated somewhere in Eastern Russia or Northern China.  Catsup originally was a created as a cooking sauce.   
     Remoulade of any kind calls for a variety of herbs in the recipe.  When a much sought after herb is in season, then featuring that solitary herb in a remoulade is okay to do.  Fresh marjoram has a luxurious appealing aromatic flavor.  When no other herb and only marjoram is used to make remoulade, the flavor profile creates a very pleasant tasting experience.  Neon Relish gives Louisiana Remoulade a sweet Greek spice flavor and marjoram is used in many traditional recipes.  Marjoram and Neon Relish create an unbeatably good Louisiana style remoulade flavor.    

     Heirloom San Marzano Tomato
     In this age of GMO food, unsustainable farming, chemical pesticides and food that is saturated with herbicides, choosing organic food is the wisest thing to do.  Heirloom tomato varietals are bred the old fashioned way or they are naturally occurring species.  
     San Marzano tomato hybrids originated in Peru and Argentina.  The Inca and many preceding cultures were experts at developing hybrid vegetable strains.  The original San Marzano Tomato seed stock was presented to a prominent Italian royal family many years ago.  This sweet plum tomato varietal is now renowned as the greatest cooking tomato of them all.  
     A lightly seasoned grilled heirloom San Marzano Tomato really looks good on a plate.  Grilled tomatoes are a classic southern style vegetable.  

     Neon Marjoram Louisiana Remoulade:
     This recipe yields enough rémoulade for 1 or 2 accompanying portions!  
     The Gaufrette potatoes can also be dipped in this sauce, so do not be shy about serving up a large ramekin of Neon Marjoram Louisiana Remoulade!
     Step 1:  Place 1/4 cup of mayonnaise in a mixing bowl.
     Add 2 tablespoons of organic catsup.
     Add 1 tablespoon of Creole Mustard.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce.
     Add 2 tablespoons of Neon Relish or Chicago Style Relish.
     Step 2:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of minced Vidalia Sweet Onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of minced fresh marjoram.
     Add sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. 
     Step 3:  Mix the ingredients together.  (Or use a blending wand to mix the ingredients for a few seconds to produce a refined looking remoulade like the one in the photos above.
     Chill the sauce for at least 20 minutes, so the flavors meld.   

     Gaufrette Potatoes:  
     This recipe yields 1 portion of chips!
     *If you don't have a French Mandolin, then just thin slice a potato and fry regular potato chips.
     • French Mandolin Slicers are notorious for causing severe injuries.  It is best to wear a butcher's chainmail glove when using this tool.  
     • To make gaufrette potatoes, an 1/8" crinkle cut slicing blade (corrugated blade) is selected for the Mandolin. 
     • The depth setting is adjusted by eye between 1/16" and 1/8".   
     • After each stroke past the blade, the potato must be turned at a 90º angle.  Turning the potato back and forth by 90º creates a waffle chip effect.  
     • By turning the potato back and forth while cutting, it is easy to make a pile of perfect gaufrette potatoes.  The depth of the blade might have to be adjusted for the first few slices, but once the blade is dialed in, every chip will look the same.  The object is to have tiny holes between each criss-cross ridge.  
     Step 1:  Gaufrette cut 1/2 of a russet potato.  (about 4 to 5 ounces)
     Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil in a large high sided sauce pot to 360ºF.
     Fry the gaufrette potatoes in small batches, because they tend to stick together.
     Fry the chips, till they are crispy golden brown.
     Use a fryer net to place the chips on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess oil.
     Step 2:  Sprinkle a small amount of Kosher Salt over the chips.
     Keep the gaufrette potatoes warm on a stove top.
     *Try not to eat them all before the entree is served!  Gaufrette Potatoes are highly addictive!

     Grilled Heirloom San Marzano Tomato:
     Care must be taken to not overcook a San Marzano Tomato, because these tomatoes become very tender in a short amount of time!
     Split a medium size Heirloom San Marzano Tomato in half lengthwise.
     Lightly season the tomato with sea salt and black pepper.
     Heat a non-stick (or seasoned) sauté pan or griddle over medium low heat.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Grill the tomato halves on both sides, till the tomato is warmed and it just starts to become tender.
     Keep the grilled tomato warm on a stove top.   

     Southern Fried Frog Legs:  
     This recipe yields 1 petite entrée portion or appetizer portion!  
     Step 1:  Heat some lard or vegetable frying oil (or a combination of both) in a deep cast iron skillet to 360ºF.  The oil should be about 1/2" to 3/4" deep.
     Step 2:  Select 2 pairs of meaty large frog legs.
     Use a large chef knife or kitchen shears to cut through the hip joint.  Trim off any excess cartilage flash.
     Step 3:  Dredge the frog legs in flour that is seasoned with sea salt and black pepper.
     Dredge the floured floured frog legs in buttermilk.
     Dredge the frog legs in the seasoned flour a second time to create a thin coating.
     Step 4:  Place the coated frog legs in the skillet of hot oil and lard.
     Fry till the bottom half of each frog leg turns golden brown.
     Use tongs to turn the frog legs.
     Fry on both sides, till the frog legs are crispy golden brown.  (CGB!)
     Step 5:  Place the pan fried frog legs on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan to drain off any excess lard or oil.  Keep the frog legs warm on a stove top.

     Southern Fried Frog Legs with Neon Marjoram Louisiana Remoulade ~ Grilled Heirloom San Marzano Tomato & Gaufrette Potatoes:
     Place a large ramekin of the Marjoram Neon Relish Louisiana Remoulade on the back center of a plate.
     Carefully arrange a small mound of Gaufrette Potatoes on the center of the plate.  (I do say carefully, because gaufrette potatoes will easily break!)
     Carefully lean the Southern Fried Frog Legs on the Gaufrette Chips, so they fan out from center.
     Plate the Grilled San Marzano Tomato halves on both sides of the ramekin on the plate.
     Garnish the remoulade with a marjoram sprig.

     Viola!  Good old fashioned southern fried frog legs with some fancy accompaniments!

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