It’s that time: IOWA STATE FAIR WEEK!
Whoot! And to celebrate (well, to celebrate in a way OTHER than actually going to the fair, which I sadly may not have a chance to do this year), I made a veritable litany of fried and on-a-stick foods, DIY versions of what’s sold at the fair. My waistline may never forgive me, but my taste buds just sent me a dozen roses. Yay.
So really, to get the best feel for this, let’s pretend we’re at the state fair. You with me? You just got here, you’ve seen the super-huge bull and your favorite breed of horse (or chicken, if you’re Rob) and now you’re walking along, counting the number of fanny packs you see, and your nose detects the scent of something… tangy, yes, it’s tangy and also definitely fried. It smells delicious. You wander over to the vendor’s stand and find out that it’s fried pickles! Let the eating begin.
Challenge: DIY Fried Pickles
Oh, how I love fried dill pickles. Oh, I didn’t mention dill before? That’s because there’s really no other pickle for me. It’s dill or nothin’. I suppose if you wanted to be strange, you could fry up some bread ‘n’ butter pickles and see how that goes. But for me, I stick with dill.
I followed a recipe I found on the Food Network site.
For the Egg Wash:
2 cups milk
Pinch lemon pepper
Pinch dill weed
Okay, making the pickles is easy. First, you mix up the egg wash in one bowl. Then, you mix up the breading in another bowl. Then, you get a baking sheet and line it with a piece of wax paper (for the chilling of the pickles – you’ll see what I mean in a minute.).
Then, you slice up your pickles. About 2 cups of them, or in my case, 2 jumbo pickles’ worth.
The rest is easy. Working left to right, use your left hand to pick up the pickle slice, dip it in the egg wash (and swish it around so it gets nice and coated), and drop it into the breading mixture. Then, using your right hand (or a fork), cover the pickle in breading. Then, with your right hand, place the pickle on your baking sheet. If you follow this method, you’ll bread your pickles, but not your hands. It makes cleanup much easier.
When all of your pickles are breaded, stick ’em in the fridge to chill for a bit. (And, by a bit, I mean 30 to 60 minutes.) When you’re ready to fry ’em up, either get your fryer started warming, or pour an inch or two of vegetable oil into a heavy-bottomed, deep pan. Heat oil to 350 or 375 degrees.
Pull out your chilled pickles, and then drop them (in batches) into the hot oil. Cook until they float to the top and are golden-brown on both sides. Remove them to a plate or something lines with paper towels to catch the excess grease. Eat while still warm, dripped in ranch dressing.
These pickles are only all right. I like slicing them into rounds, so the pickle-to-breading ratio is high (some places fry pickle spears, which simply won’t do. At that point, you might as well just eat a plain pickle and save yourself the calories). However, the breading here is… not the best. A bit too thin, not really a comprehensive pickle covering, and a little dry. I think next time, I’ll go with a more flour-y breading and really punch up the spices a bit. So, if this WERE a comparison, I’d say that the state fair fried pickles I’ve had have been better. But I’m glad I tried making ’em!
DIY or Buy?
If this is your recipe? Buy.
Do you make your own fried pickles? What recipe/breading do you use?
Also, come back TOMORROW for the second course: Mac ‘n’ Cheese on a Stick!
Also, unrelated: Why is Food Network putting untested recipes up on their site? Seriously. I obviously should have read that article better before jumping in, but some random restaurant submitted this recipe, and the Food Network company doesn’t stand behind it, but they’re allowing it to be associated with their brand? Ooookkkay.