The very first time I was introduced to Frog Eye Salad, I had the same reaction.
Also known as Frog's Eye Salad. Frog what? Eyes? No thank you.
Alas, not a frog one was harmed in the making of this Instructable.
Tiny little pieces of pasta, somewhat comparable to tapioca, plenty of
whipped topping, Summertime fruits and tropical surprises are hiding
in this light and fruity 'salad'.
Acini Di Pepe is said to be Italian for 'peppercorns'. Alas, I am not Italian, and cannot confirm.
You might compare this dessert to something along the lines of a
Watergate Salad, only without nuts and pudding. Watergate Salad has
been around longer than most of us. As a child, just the thought of
canned pineapple made me cringe, because it meant Mom was fixing
coleslaw. Suffice it to say I would agree to suffer before I voluntarily ate
such a thing.
With a grown-up palate, and a bit of a twist on the recipe, I'm giving it
another shot. Thank you, Mary Whitt, for introducing me to this recipe more
than twenty years ago.
For a fun twist, be sure to check out fellow member Mygibzone's Instructable:
I love it!
Step 1: Help! I Can't Find Acini Di Pepe!
Can't find this pasta in your area? Don't fret. You aren't alone.
But no need to worry, we have other options.
Acini Di Pepe is sold by several companies. Oddly, you may find it by one
name brand with holes in the middle of it. Another is the standard whole, yet
tiny pasta with which I am familiar. I was not happy to find the only Acini in
our area had holes in it, but trust me, once it is cooked, you'll never know.
Your tongue isn't going to detect that teeny little hole.
Here are a few companies that produce Acini or similar pasta:
RONZONI - PASTINA 12 oz. box
ARCHER FARMS (*Organic)
RAVARINO & FRESCHI
Don't give up. It is out there. Somewhere.
Step 2: Gather Your Ingredients...
Recipe from American Beauty, a company that is no longer in business.
1 and 1/3 cups (8 oz.) Acini Di Pepe pasta, uncooked
(note - I use the whole package)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 20 oz. can undrained chunk pineapple
1 8 oz. can undrained crushed pineapple.
(*note* I skip this extra can)
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons of lemon juice (yes, you may use ReaLemon)
2 cans of Mandarin orange segments, 11 oz. size cans, drained
3 and 1/2 cups whipped topping, thawed
3 cups of miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup of flaked coconut
Maraschino cherries (to decorate)
Step 3: Drain the Fruit, Measure the Tropical Ingredients...
If you gather and measure all of your ingredients ahead of time, it
is so much easier, not to mention tidier cooking.
Drain at least the 20 ounce can of pineapple, but SAVE THE JUICE!
You may add the additional 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple, but
personally, I leave it out. You may even find similar Frog Eye Salad recipes
calling for even more pineapple. As much as I love this dessert, I don't
want to overwhelm it with pineapple flavor. 20 ounces is perfectly sufficient.
Measure out three cups of marshmallows, 1/2 cup of coconut, cover and set aside.
Step 4: Gently Beat the Single Egg...
All too often, I see cooks cracking an egg into a bowl full of ingredients, and I cringe.
Now, while I'm certain there are professionals who would never drop a single bit
of eggshell into their batter, I don't trust eggs. Free of shells, perhaps, but you never
know what might be inside that egg. It is safest to crack it open into a bowl, give it
at least a quick glance, then proceed.
Little is worse than ruining an entire bowl of ingredients only to find the egg you
just cracked into it looks funny, smells funny, or worse.
I crack mine into a spoon rest. Not only is it large enough to hold one egg, but you
can even beat the egg with a fork right in the spoon rest, then pour it right into your
mixing bowl without having to raise the beater head. A quick rinse, and you can use
it for it's intended purpose while cooking.
Step 5: Create, Cook, Cool, and Refrigerate the Egg Mixture Until Cooled...
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the 1 Tablespoon of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt,
and 1/2 cup of white sugar.
Measure one cup of the pineapple juice drained from the pineapple in Step 3.
Add this juice to the flour mixture, stirring with a whisk, then turn the heat on medium
high, stirring frequently. Add the egg, and whisk well until mixture comes to a gentle
Remove from heat, whisk in two teaspoons of lemon juice. Stir well.
Cover, and refrigerate until cooled.
Step 6: Cook, Rinse, Drain and Cool the Pasta...
Though the original recipe calls for only 8 ounces of uncooked pasta, I have
always used the entire bag or box. One time long ago, I followed the recipe by
the book, and found it to be loaded with pineapple, and not enough pasta. Please
feel free to alter as you wish. You won't hurt anything by adding less if you prefer.
This little pasta doesn't take long to cook, so keep an eye on it, stirring often.
Once it is cooked according to package directions, immediately rinse with cool
water to stop the cooking process, or your dessert will be called Soggy Froggy Salad.
It is a good idea to strain hot liquids into another heat-safe container rather than down
your drain. After all, you may not know what kind of pipes are under the kitchen, you
wouldn't want to melt them. You could run cold water at the same time, but there is no
sense in wasting water.
After allowing the pasta to drain, stir it up to ensure it does not cool into one giant
morphed blob. Cover with a damp paper towel to keep the buzzards away.
If you are pressed for time, or your dessert is not called for until tomorrow, you can
simply transfer the pasta to an airtight container, moving it to the refrigerator, or you
can complete the process now. It will keep.
Step 7: Mix All of the Ingredients Together in a HUGE Bowl...
When you are ready to prepare the salad, a HUGE bowl will come in quite handy.
I found our bowl at a discount store for only four dollars. Bargain shopping is a good thing.
Pour the chilled, drained pasta into the big bowl, and mix it to break up any clumps that
may have formed during chilling.
Add the egg mixture that was created in Step 5. Add the pineapple (crushed and / or chunked), the
Mandarin oranges, marshmallows, coconut and whipped topping. Keep in mind, the measurements
for additives are only suggestions. Feel free to add more or less of just about everything. I always
use more whipped topping than is called for. You can add cherries to the mix, or use them as decor
later on. It is a very forgiving recipe.
Step 8: Place Into Decorative Serving Dishes, If You Desire...
You could easily cover the bowl and be finished, or you could place a bit of
Frog Eye in tiny glass serving trifles, decorate them with a row of cherries,
add more Frog Eye and top off with dollops of whipped cream.
You could layer the salad in a large bowl with more cherries, more pineapple,
maybe even nuts if you wish. Have fun, experiment, enjoy!
Serves quite a few, so unless your household truly enjoys eating this stuff for
a week, I suggest you share it with others. A great choice for a large gathering.