It was in a bar in the deep south that I had my first encounter with fried pickles. Down here it is easy to strike up a relaxed conversation with the complete strangers sitting next to you, especially when you throw in the added novelty of an English accent.
When their bar snacks arrived they urged us to share and that is how I came to first experience the wonder of fried pickles. On the surface of it, slices of pickled cucumber, breaded and then deep fried and served with a side of ranch dressing do not sound like a culinary masterpiece, but these were just the perfect combination of crispy, crunchy, oily, spicy and salty to make the ideal accompaniment to a cold beer. I was hooked.
This summer I have been experiencing a glut of cucumbers and have been happily preserving the surplus into pickles and relishes for future enjoyment. I made a batch of garlic dill pickles using this recipe from the excellent foodinjars.com blog. The garlic and pepper gave them a nice kick and I thought they would be the perfect candidate for transforming into spicy fried pickles. I added a little smoked paprika to the cornmeal mix to add to the taste sensation and made a cooling blue cheese and yogurt dipping sauce to partner them. The end result is a tasty and quite addictive snack.
Spicy Pan Fried Dill Pickles with a Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
8oz dill pickles, drained (I made mine using this recipe, or you can use shop bought pickles)
1 cup all purpose flour
0.5 cup cornmeal
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
0.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
For the dipping sauce
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
0.5 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the sauce, place the blue cheese, yogurt, vinegar and black pepper in a food processor and blitz until combined but still slightly chunky. Check for seasoning.
Drain your dill pickles.
Beat the two eggs and place in a bowl.
Mix together the flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and paprika in a shallow bowl or plate.
Dip the pickle slices in the beaten egg, then dip them in the flour mix until well coated and then carefully place them in the pan. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Drain on paper towel before enjoying, ideally with a cold beer.