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Frog Leg & Watercress Soup
France - Alsace   -   Grenouille soupe de cresson de fontaine

6 soup  
1-1/4 hr  
This is a delicate and sophisticated soup - yet substantial and satisfying. It can be done ahead up to the "Finish" steps. While most appropriate as a soup course for a sit down dinner, I have, with care to temperatures, served it at a small buffet in a slow cooker set to "keep warm".

Frog Legs (1)
Riesling wine (2)  
Fish Stock (3)
Crème Fraîche (4)  
Egg Yolks
Prep   -   (20 min - 10 min work)
  1. Thaw FROG LEGS, separate into individual legs. Rinse in several changes of water and drain well.
  2. Peel SHALLOTS and chop fine.
  3. Rinse WATERCRESS. Discard overly thick stems (larger than 1/4 inch). Blanch for 1 minute in boiling water, strain and refresh with cold water. Wring out and chop coarse.
Run   -   (45 min - alt 1 hr Note-5)
  1. In a sauté pan, melt Butter and fry Shallots until translucent. Stir in Frog Legs and fry tumbling now and then for 2 minutes without browning. Boil off any liquid the Frog Legs exude.
  2. Stir in Wine and Fish Stock. Bring to a simmer and stir in Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper. Simmer covered until Frog Legs are sufficiently done. This is when they start becoming disjointed, 10 minutes or a little more.
  3. Remove frog legs and set them aside until cool enough to handle. Remove all bones, tossing the bones back into the stock. Simmer stock another 20 minutes or so (but see Note-5). Strain and set aside.
  4. Cut the Frog meat into pieces 3/8 to 1/2 inch long and toss with the Watercress until well distributed.
Finish   -   (8 min)
  1. When ready to serve - place a bowl over simmering water. Stir together the Crème Fraîche, Butter cut into bits and Egg Yolks. Whip with a wire whisk until it about doubles in volume, then pour immediately into another bowl to stop cooking - you'll need a rubber spatula for this. Keep warm.
  2. Bring the Soup Stock up hot, but not boiling. Gradually stir in the Cream mix and whip it smooth with the wire whisk. Finally, stir in the Frog - Watercress mix.
  3. Serve with crusty bread, a salad and Riesling wine or Beer.
  1. Frog Legs:   If you don't live in one of the regions were frog legs are traditional, look in Asian markets in the frozen food cases. Here in Southern California they are frozen in bags weighing one pound. For details see our Frog Page.
  2. Riesling Wine:   The wine has a substantial influence on the finished soup. Preferably use an Alsatian Riesling, but if not available, another good quality Riesling.
  3. Fish Stock:   This is something I always have on hand, because I buy most of my fish whole. That's the only way you can tell if the fish you're paying for is the fish you're getting - and I make fish stock from the heads, bones and fins. For details of making and storing fish stock see our Fish Stock page, and also Note-5.
  4. Crème Fraîche:   This is a very heavy lightly soured cream with a fat content well over 30%. It is much more resistant to curdling in hot soup than lower fat creams. I usually get Bellwether Farms brand from Trader Joe's, which is 39% fat. Beware of "Low Fat Crème Fraîche", an American style product stabilized with gums. Its OK for fruit topping but not for cooking. If you can't get real Crème Fraîche, use the highest fat heavy cream you can find, and be careful you soup stays below a simmer.
  5. Method:   The pattern recipe calls for a rather strong fish stock made with vegetables. My fish stock is always plain, because I don't know what cuisine it will be used for. To adjust, at the time the frog bones are tossed back into the stock, I put in 6 oz sliced onion, a rib of celery and a carrot, both sliced, a few springs of parsley and a bay leaf. I simmer for about 45 minutes, before straining.
  6. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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