In a small, Northern Vermont Kitchen, we sate our appetites with homemade meals and a love of local ingredients.

Fried Pickles with Horseradish Habanero Dipping Sauce

Fried Pickles with Horseradish Habanero Dipping Sauce

A few years ago a group of us had a “fried dinner” party at a friend’s house. Fried chicken, fried okra and fried pickles were served, along with copious amounts of beer and wine. Our friends are southern, and they know how to fry. And we all know how to drink beer. It was a most excellent dinner party.

As delicious as everything was, the fried pickles were a revelation. I’d never even heard of them, let alone tasted the wonder that is deep fried dills. I wanted to eat the whole batch myself.

I’m not a huge fryer myself. It’s too much of a mess. But, every once in awhile – Lordy, Lordy – this woman craves a good fried pickle. And the joy of this recipe is that it gives you big taste, without a big mess. You don’t need a gazillion tons of oil, like with fried chicken or even oven rings, so the house doesn’t smell like a fryer for days.

Also, you can cater the spices in the batter to your taste. I like using a Cajun seasoning and seasoned salt. However, you could just use black pepper and Frank’s hot sauce or whatever else you have kicking around in the spice drawer.

This is the kind of appetizer that can make a boring or bad day a little brighter. Because fried pickles are happy food.

Fried Pickles

Yield 2 cups

2 cups sliced dill pickles
½ cup unbleached flour
½ cup milk or half and half
¼ cup water
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
½ teaspoon seasoned salt
Peanut oil

Fill a small frying pan halfway up with peanut oil. Heat over medium high heat until 350 degrees, or until a piece of flour dropped in the oil sizzles immediately.

While the oil is heating, pat the pickles dry with paper towels. Mix the flour, milk, water, Cajun seasoning and seasoned salt together in a medium bowl.

Drop half of the pickles in the batter and stir well to coat. Add them one at a time into the oil. Cook for 1 minute, and flip with a slotted spoon. Cook for an additional minute. Remove the pickles from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat the process with second batch of pickles.

Serve immediately with dipping sauce.

Horseradish Habanero Dipping Sauce

½ cup low fat or regular sour cream
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon habanero hot sauce or Tabasco
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix together in a small bowl, and serve immediately.

(Photo by Launie Kettler)

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