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Frog eye salad is a whimsical name for a somewhat unusual type of fruit and pasta salad. Generally, fruit and pasta are not combined, but frog eye salad is a notable exception. The name comes from the type of pasta, a small granular pasta called acini de pepe, which is used in the recipe. This pasta, when cooked, forms roughly spherical grains approximately 0.07 to 0.12 inches (2 to 3 mm) across, which some cook, in a moment of perhaps somewhat perverse humor, thought resembled frog eyes. Fruits, whipped cream, and marshmallows are the some of the other traditional components of a frog eye salad.
While only one of many ingredients in a traditional frog eye salad, the pasta is very important. Belonging to a class of pasta called pastini, or tiny pastas, acini de pepe, which is from the Italian word for peppercorns, is really the only suitable choice, as it is the pasta and its shape that give the dish its name. Many recipes for frog eye salad call for cooking the pasta according to package directions, but this time should actually be reduced by a minute or so. If the pasta is to be soaked in liquid before the final assembly of the salad, however, cooking time should be reduced by another minute or so. The reduction in cooking times will prevent the pasta from becoming mushy.
The body of the salad, besides the pasta, is generally made up of small marshmallows and two kinds of fruit, pineapple and mandarin oranges. While it is possible to use fresh forms of these fruits, most recipes call for canned versions, and some use the liquid from one or both types of canned fruit. Occasionally, frog eye salad will contain shredded coconut and may be topped with maraschino cherries as well.
The dressing for a frog eye salad varies from recipe to recipe, but generally always contains frozen whipped topping. Real whipped cream is not generally suitable for this dish as it tends to break down quickly and become runny. Some recipes call for pudding mix as well, which adds body to the salad and helps thicken the dressing. Most recipes also call for the addition of sugar at some point, as the salad is meant to be sweet, and the individual ingredients may not have enough of their own sugars.
Recipes for frog eye salad are almost as numerous as the cooks that make it. Everyone has their favorite recipe, and while they all have certain things in common, variations abound. A simple Internet search can turn up dozens of frog eye salad recipes for perusal and experimentation.
@Grivusangel -- Here's the weird thing. I have a friend who is Mormon and grew up in Utah. She said that's like the favorite dish out there and you see it at nearly every church function. She also said she had rarely seen it outside Mormon communities, which is also a little strange, but there you go.
She said once she left Utah she realized how many other versions of good congealed salads were out there, and said her days of eating frog eye salad were over.
As if the name weren't bad enough, the recipe sounds vile! I can't imagine anyone deliberately coming up with this. In the immortal words of Mike Myers, it sounds like it was invented on a dare!
I like congealed salads, fruit salad, pasta salad and the like, but not all in the same dish. I can go with everything but the pasta. Fruit gelatin, whipped topping, grapes -- it's all good. But *pasta*? That's just so wrong on so many levels. The very idea makes me a little nauseated and no recipe should do that at the first look. What a mess of a recipe.
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