As I mentioned in my last post, I had a failed fried pickle experience, as shown. Ugh, it’s so sad…but okay, there’s no point in ruminating over the past, but rather, it’s time to get busy!
I present: The Great Pickle Experiment! I was absolutely determined to get something from my fancy hot dog dinner disaster, and thought the pickles would be the best focus for me, especially since it is a tasty treat that I wouldn’t mind munching on again on a lazy weekend afternoon.
The Breading Variations: Flour (plain, bottom right), Italian Breadcrumbs (fine, bottom left), and Italian Seasoned Panko Breadcrumbs (coarse, top left).
The Method (used for all above variations per the instruction from my Fry Guy Ed): Flour—Egg Wash—Breading. (I also know it should really go egg wash—flour—egg wash—breading, but I felt that with the pickles being as wet as they were naturally, I said no need to two egg washes.)
Now, before I get into the results and reveal some of my photos, let me first address what went wrong with…⇑ that. Firstly, no initial flouring…just egg wash and panko, and I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt because…well, it’s their recipe, and I have had these beauties before, and this was my first solo attempt to make fried pickles. Nope. The pickles were too wet, they didn’t hold ANY of the egg wash, and thus, no panko covering evening…which led to my like Frankenstein-ed pickle problem.
I wanted to go by the book before I branched off on my own, but that’s when I realized that this cookbook may also have had a few…very common sense things, if you will, overlooked. I’m an amateur, I’ve mentioned this, and when I’m cooking something new or challenging, the last thing I’m going to do is think about common sense techniques. I don’t fry, but yes, in hindsight, now, I should have just floured my pickles first, recipe be darned. But that’s why I started this whole endeavor, I wanted to learn the techniques that perhaps weren’t so common to me, since how I learned to cook wasn’t, for the most part, technical. It was very hands-on, feel-it-out, learn-on-the-fly. But duly noted, flour first, and me thinks a little cayenne or chili powder (or both!) would be a great addition for next time!
Oh, and pat those pickles dry! Not bone dry, but just dry enough that they won’t be too wet when going to the egg wash, but wet enough to naturally bind to the flour. And then I just had a frying good time!
The Verdict: Italian Breadcrumbs (bottom right of the photo above — flour was top left, and panko bottom left). This was my favorite in terms of flavor, covering, texture. While the flour was crisp, it was flavorless, but had I zested it up with a little heat for both flour dredges, it might have been much nicer. The Panko was just a little aggressive with the crisp, a little too coarse for my liking (and to each his/her own I suppose). And I think, even for the Italian Breadcrumbs, I would add some chili/heat to the initial flouring. And it gave me a good excuse to buy a spider skimmer [I have very large ambitions to one day attempt to make my own tempura veggies, but that’ll be for another weekend when I’ve gotten a little more frying under my belt].
Fry On My Fellow Cooks —Cooking Maggie
- 2 whole pickles, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
- Vegetable Oil, enough to fill 1/2 of a medium saucepan
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
- Optional: 1-2 teaspoons chili powder or cayenne, added to flour
- Slice your pickles into 1/4 inch rounds, gently pat semi-dry with paper towel (they shouldn’t be dripping, but shouldn’t be bone dry either).
- Set up your breading station: 1 plate for the flour (and chili powder/cayenne), 1 bowl for the eggs (whisk for 1-2 minutes until well blended), and 1 plate for the breadcrumbs.
- (For this step, I recommend only handling 2-3 pickle rounds at a time as this step should be done fairly quickly so no coating or egg is lost in the process) Dredge pickle slices in the flour, ensuring an even coating of flour all around, then transfer to egg wash. Coat the pickles in the egg wash, then transfer to breadcrumbs, ensuring another even coating of breadcrumbs all around. Set aside on another plate and repeat with remaining pickles.
- Pour your vegetable oil into your sauce pan (we’re looking for about 1/2 the saucepan to be filled, roughly 5-6″), and heat oil to 375°F. (Note: If you don’t have a thermometer, I found a nifty trick using a wooden spoon to check the oil! Place the handle in the oil (holding the actual spoon in your hand), and when the oil starts to bubble around the stick, it’s ready!)
- Carefully place your pickles in the oil, and fry until golden brown all the way around (about 3-5 minutes usually). Carefully skim the pickles out and place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil, and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste (I just use pepper because the pickles are already perfectly tart and salt would be a little overkill, but it’s to your preference). Then serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce (ranch, chipotle aioli, you name it, you can use it)! YUM!