A recent holiday in France allowed me to prepare another dish from the menu of Café Martinique, as featured in Thunderball (1965): cuisses de grenouilles provençales, or frogs’ legs cooked in the Provence style. While the grenouilles appear to give James Bond (Sean Connery) little pause as he searches for the caviar, the dish is the epitome of classic French gastronomy and something that the literary Bond at least, being a Francophile, might appreciate.
For the recipe below, I’ve adapted a set of general instructions offered by Elizabeth David in her definitive volume, French Provincial Cooking, which, published in 1960, is reasonably contemporary with the film.
- 500g frozen frogs’ legs, thawed
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
- 2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Pinch each of salt and black pepper
Once thawed, pat the frogs’ legs dry and coat in flour. Melt a generous knob of butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle, lay the frogs’ legs in the pan and gently fry for about 10 minutes, turning the legs over once or twice during cooking.
Add the parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and toss or stir-fry the contents of the pan for another 2 or 3 minutes.
Serve with crusty bread and a glass of chilled rosé.