Friday, August 26, 2016

Cajun Blackened Frog Legs with Crispy Coriander Noodles, Spring Lettuce and Dijon Vinaigrette

     Spicy Cajun Style Frog Legs!
     I once worked in a fishery restaurant that was next to the Florida Everglades.  The evening business was so busy at that old seafood restaurant, that it never opened for lunch.  There always was a two hour waiting line for customer seating during the dinner hours.  We all prepared fresh seafood by day starting at 6:00AM and finished by 3:30PM.  After a half hour break, we cooked in the restaurant from 4:00PM till 11:00PM at night.  
     The seafood was literally delivered fresh from the boat to our restaurant dock.  The restaurant also bought tons of stone crab claws from the local crab boats.  Boiling huge pots of fresh stone crab claws is an awesome aroma to work around!
     Boat loads of fresh Everglades frog legs were delivered to our docks too.  Many times I spent the entire day shift at that fishery restaurant doing nothing more than trimming frog legs.  It is kind of weird, but after a few hours of clipping frog toenails, a person starts seeing frog legs even with eyes closed.     
     Frog leg trimming can get boring, but it is a duty that requires perfection.  Everglades frog legs are the very best in the world!  I have seen Everglades bull frog legs that were over two feet long and the thigh section was as big around as a large turkey leg.  That is a lot of frog hoppin' power!   

     Cajun Blackening Spice Mix: 
     This recipe yields enough Cajun blackening spice for about 3 or 4 fish portion applications.
     The tiny amount of sugar helps to caramelize the highlights of the grains of the fish meat.  The small dash of flour helps the spice mix to stick to the fish.
     This is a basic Cajun blackening spice mix with no extra herbs.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 tablespoon of onion powder in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder.
     Add 4 tablespoons of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 4 tablespoons of cayenne pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of black pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of white pepper.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of flour.
     Step 2:  Mix the ingredients together.
     Set the Cajun Blackening Spice Mix aside.

     Dijon Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe yields about 1/3 cup.  (2 petite portions) 
     This is a simple Dijon Vinaigrette that is meant to accompany highly seasoned food.         
     Step 1:  Place 1 tablespoon of Dijon Mustard in a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Whisk the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Slowly add 3 tablespoons of olive oil while constantly whisking, to make an emulsified vinaigrette.
     Set the Dijon Vinaigrette aside or chill it for later use.

     Crispy Coriander Noodles:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.
     Step 1:  Cut 1 large pre-made wonton wrapper into 3/8" x 4" strips.   (5 to 7 noodle strips is plenty)
     Step 2:  Heat 6" of vegetable frying oil to 360ºF in a high sided pot.
     Place the fresh wonton noodle strips in the hot oil.
     Fry the wonton noodle strips till they are crispy golden brown.
     Step 3:  Use a fryer net to place the crispy noodles on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Sprinkle 2 pinches of ground coriander on the hot fried noodles.
     Season with sea salt.
     Set the Crispy Coriander Noodles aside.
     Cajun Blackened Frog Legs:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Be sure to turn on the hood exhaust fans before blackening anything!
     Step 1:  Dredge 3 pairs of medium size frog legs in the Cajun Blackening Spice Mix.
     Step 2:  Heat a cast iron skillet over medium/medium high heat.
     Add 1 1/2 ounces of unsalted butter.  
     Heat the butter till it begins to smoke.
     Step 3:  Place the frog legs in the hot butter.
     Blacken the frog legs for 3 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other side.  (Try to only flip the frog legs once, but if they are thick, then flip them twice.)
     Blacken the frog legs till they are fully cooked and blackened highlights appear.
     Step 4:  Use tongs to place the Blackened Frog Legs on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.
     Keep the frog legs warm on a stove top.
     Cajun Blackened Frog Legs with Crispy Coriander Noodles, Spring Lettuce and Dijon Vinaigrette: 
     This recipe describes 1 entrée presentation.
     Step 1:  Place 5 thin plum tomato wedges on the border of the back half of a plate.
     Mound 1 1/2 cups of mixed baby spring lettuce on the plate next to the tomatoes.
     Pour 1/2 tablespoon of the Dijon Vinaigrette on the lettuce.
     Step 2:  Place the Blackened Frog Legs on the front half of the plate, so they lean against the lettuce.
     Step 3:  Slide the Crispy Coriander Noodles between the frog legs and the lettuce.
     Spoon a generous amount of the Dijon Vinaigrette on the plate around the frog legs.

     Frog legs are more tender than chicken and they have no fat.  Some people say frog legs taste like chicken, but they really do have a delicate flavor of their own.  This is a delicious café style frog leg salad entrée!

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