Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In A Pickle

The hubby and I like to watch Food Network, but it never fails to get us in trouble. I mean, how can you watch total deliciousness being made in front of you and not want to eat massive amounts of unhealthy foods?  I guess if you have a little something called willpower you can resist, but here in this house there is sometimes a shortage of that. Last week we were watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Finger Food and one of the segments included fried pickles from The Blue Ridge Grill in Atlanta, GA. I already had pickles on the brain since I was getting ready for my first adventure in pickling and canning by making homemade dill pickles the next day, and seeing these yum-o fried pickles being made put me in even more of a pickle mood. Fast forward a few days (homemade pickles are made and set aside for their 2 weeks of fermenting--is it just me or does that word make them sound totally gross? I prefer not to think of my food fermenting...) and I was still thinking about those fried pickles. Well, it was another rainy cozy day which always puts me in the mood to cook or bake something delish. Cue, fried pickles. I had everything on hand including a jar of Vlassic dill pickle chips. The one thing I took away from The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Finger Foods was that the chef at The Blue Ridge Grill used cornmeal in his batter. From there I dug around in my pantry and pulled out some additional things to whip up a batter. Here is my recipe:

Fried Pickles

Dry Batter:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (I had white on hand but I am sure yellow would work just fine too)
1 tablespoon of cornstarch (this makes the batter super nice and crispy!)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Cayenne pepper, to taste

Wet Batter:
1 cup milk
1 egg
A few dashes of hot sauce, to taste

*Note: We made a small serving of fried pickles, so we had a fair amount of batter left over. Next time I  make them for just us (hubby is still deciding how he feels about pickles so he barely ate any anyway) I would half the dry batter recipe. You can't really half the wet batter unless you want to mess with trying to separate out half of an egg...? I didn't think so. If you are making pickles for a crowd the full recipe should do.

Drain your pickle chips in a strainer (you will still want them wet--don't pat them dry or anything--but let the excess drip off into the sink). Coat the bottom of a dutch oven or deep skillet with vegetable oil. It does not need to be deep enough to cover the whole pickle, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan and one side of the pickle. Heat oil over medium heat. While oil is heating, mix up dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another bowl. Once your oil is hot and lightly bubbling and popping you are ready to fry. {We did a single pickle first to taste test our batter seasoning. After our "test pickle" we went back and spiced things up with more cayenne and hot sauce.} Dredge your drained pickle chips into the dry batter first. Shake excess off and then dredge them in the wet batter. Dredge them once more in the dry batter and then carefully put them into the hot oil. Let them fry until golden brown and then using tongs flip them to the other side to fry. It only takes a minute or so for them to get brown so keep a close eye on them! Remove fried pickles from the oil and place onto a paper towel lined plate to drain. Serve immediately with a side of ranch dressing. I used store bought light ranch dressing (I had to save calories somewhere you know) although these would be 10 times more delicious with homemade ranch. I wasn't up to that for a random afternoon snack made from items in my pantry, but I would definitely step it up and make homemade dressing if I was serving these for guests. So, who wants to come over and be my reason for homemade ranch dressing?

Dry and Wet Batter
"Test" Pickle 

Yummy Fried Pickles!

Pickles and Ranch