June 15, 2010 § Leave a comment
A: Nothing, he just croaked!!!
But never fear, dear readers, this frog did not die in vain; he died to become part of our tasty tasty dinner. Now don’t be squeamish, only second grade girls are afraid of eating frogs, and you don’t want to be a second grade girl, do you…? And sheesh, French people eat snails and horses, and people aren’t grossed out by that!
(click for more slliiiiiimmmmeeeyyy frogs)
Asian people eat everything. It’s a stereotype, but pretty damn true. Frogs? check. Chicken feet? check. Snakes? check. Ginger? check. (seriously, who was the first person to eat ginger? have you seen how ugly they are? All knobbly and leathery.) But once you get over the general ick factor, you’ll find that these strange animals/body parts are the tastiest. For example, frogs taste like the godchild of a fish and a chicken mating. (I would sketch that out, but I’d rather my blog stay PG-13.) It has the gelatinous quality of good fish skin, but with the more substantial taste and texture of chicken, and cooked right, it is tender, light in fat, and oh so delicious.
I do however, need to add the disclaimer that even I am a little weirded out with the idea of dissecting the frogs in my kitchen, so just ask your butcher to do it for you. And it has to be an Asian butcher because I will bet you all the money in my wallet (that’s 4 dollars because I’m in college) that your regular butcher doesn’t carry frogs.
Anyhoo, onward bound with strange edible things! In this dish there are also shiitake mushrooms, which just look like a regular brown mushroom if it were old and wrinkled and uglier than usual, and fungi called cloud ears. Cloud ears,
or their related siblings the wood ears, look like…brownish-ebony flaps. I don’t know how better to describe them. They’re just flappy. Go find one and see if you can describe them better. Depending on how you cook them, they can be a slightly crunchy addition to your dish or a velvety smooth mouthful. I tend to like the velvety smooth texture, so I try to find cloud ears, which are softer and silkier, but it’s hard to tell the difference just by looking and sometimes they are mis-marked at the store, but generally wood ears are larger flaps, and cloud ears are smaller. If they are wood ears, they need to be simmered for about 20 minutes in chicken broth so they soften up a bit.)
Did I mention that if you chop fast you can get this on the table in 20 minutes or so? I’m like Rachael Ray only not famous and less annoying!
Frogs with Mushrooms & Cloud Ears
serves 3 | prep time: 15 minutes | cook time: 10 minutes
– 2-3 large frogs, cut up into various parts (ewwww frog.)
– 1 package fresh cloud ears (about 1 1/2 cups, or two handfuls if you’ve got big hands)
– 9 shittake mushrooms, sliced into 4 pieces each (that’s 36 pieces!! my second grade teacher would be so proud)
– 1 thing of ginger, thinly sliced (about 10 pieces)
– 4 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 drizzle of soy sauce
– 1/8 tsp salt
– 1/4 tsp white pepper
– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– 1 small drizzle (1 tablespoon) rice wine
1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a large flat bowl.
2. Place a rack in a large flat pan/wok with a lid, with about 1 inch of water on the bottom. Bring to a boil, then place the bowl of food on top of the rack. Turn the heat down to medium and cook until frogs are no longer jumping around inside, or about 10 minutes.
Here is a diagram of the makeshift steamer that we set up in case you’re confused:
And of course, reality: