By Jonathan Olivier
Fried frog legs, the South’s own little delicacy, just got a spicy, updated twist.
“Bayou Wings,” which is a buffalo-style take on traditional fried frog legs, is the delectable creation from Chef Peter Sclafani, co-owner and executive chef of Ruffino’s Baton Rouge, Ruffino’s on the River Lafayette and Ruffino’s Catering at De La Ronde Hall.
The recipe is perfect for tailgating or just adding some flair to an already solid dish to serve you and three of your friends.
“I grew up eating frog legs,” said Sclafani. “When I was a kid, my mom and dad would fry them and tell us it was fried chicken so we would eat them.”
The “they taste just like chicken” explanation is the common phrase to nudge naysayers or finicky eaters to try frog legs, and perhaps served as a poultry-based inspiration for this dish. After all, frog legs do carry some resemblance to chicken in texture.
Frogging season closes at the end of the month until June, so those looking to try their luck at catching a few still have a short window to do so.
Areas with an abundance of the critters close to Baton Rouge include anywhere within the Atchafalaya Basin, Maurepas Wildlife Management Area or any local ponds or waterways (with permission).
The recipe can be found in Sclafani’s recently published book “Seasons of Louisiana.” The cookbook follows Louisiana’s many unique seasons such as hunting and tailgating season, to bring the reader a variety of Creole-Italian recipes.
What You’ll Need
½ cup Louisiana hot sauce
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
1 stick butter
vegetable oil for frying
2 pounds frog legs
2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning (see sidebar)
2 cups flour
½ cup olive oil
3 radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on a bias
1 small bunch of cilantro, leaves picked
juice of one lime
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Truffled Ranch Dressing (see sidebar)
In a small saucepan combine the hot sauce with the garlic. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half. Stir in the cream and reduce for a couple of minutes more.
Lower the heat and whisk in the butter a little at a time until it is emulsified. Reserve in a warm spot.
Preheat the fryer to 350° F.
Season the frog legs with 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning. In a small bowl, mix the flour with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Creole seasoning.
Dredge the frog legs in the seasoned flour then fry until crisp and golden brown. Remove from the fryer and drain on paper towels.
Pour the sauce into a large mixing bowl and add the frog legs, tossing to coat.
In another small bowl combine the radishes, celery, cilantro, lime juice and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve with Truffled Ranch Dressing.
Recipe for Truffled Ranch Dressing
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley,
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh squeezed
1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon white truffle oil
½ teaspoon truffled salt
Recipe for Creole Seasoning
10 tablespoons sea salt
4 tablespoons fresh ground
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, ground
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
4 tablespoons granulated garlic
3 tablespoons granulated onion
2 tablespoons oregano, dried
2 tablespoons thyme, dried
10 tablespoons paprika, ground
Combine all ingredients in a zip lock bag and blend well