On Fried Pickles [UPDATED]

Updated 2022: Earlier this spring, Frankie & I played host to a number of our friends to celebrate the 40th birthday of one of our group! It was a really special occasion, given that, as we grow older and deeper into our lives, many of us have had to move physically farther away from each other. Some, just a new neighborhood, but for others, a new city and state altogether. But! When a very special occasion calls, and all the calendars align, it’s just…joy. That was the feeling of the night we had…joy. Now, what do fried pickles have anything to do with “joy” and friends gathering? Well, it wouldn’t be a true Frankie & Maggie hosting event without food prepared by yours truly, and what’s more – EVERYTHING I made was vegan friendly (and some options gluten-free), which is where the pickles come in! I re-made my recipe to be gluten-free, nut-free (because we also had a severe nut allergy in attendance), and of course, VEGAN, and frankly, they were BETTER than my regular recipe! So I have adjusted my recipe accordingly!


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 Bradcrumbs (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


Fried Pickles

Ingredients

  • 1 jar of hamburger dill pickle rounds
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (Pillsbury is what I used)
    • Spices to add: 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 cup Not Milk (2%)
  • 1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs (I used Ian’s from Wholefoods, which was awesome)
    • Spices to add: 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 48 fl oz vegetable oil
  • Vegan ranch for dipping (I used Drew’s from Wholefoods)

Instructions

  1. At least one hour before you fry them, drain all of the pickles from the jar, and on a plate lined with a paper towel, do a single layer on the towel, then add 1 or 2 more paper towels on top, and do another single layer of pickles – repeat with all the rounds and let sit.
  2. When you’re ready to get frying, get yourself set up! First, get your oil going in a deep cast iron skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Next, get your breading station ready: 1 bowl for the gluten-free flour (and spices), 1 bowl for the milk (and honestly, that’s what was a game changer in ensuring the breading hung on, and was frankly, less messy), and 1 bowl for the gluten-free panko (and spices).
  3. (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 is lost in the process) Dredge pickle slices in the flour, ensuring an even coating of flour all around, then transfer to the milk for a quick dip, then transfer to breadcrumbs, ensuring another even coating of breadcrumbs all around. Set aside on another plate and repeat with remaining pickles.
  4. Check that your oil is ready (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!)
  5. 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 with a slotted spoon 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 vegan dressing/dipping sauce.

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