Growing up, my brother was obsessed with dill pickles. So much so, that one of these was typically ‘wrapped’ under the Christmas tree:
A gift that encouraged his pickle-gorging and took up far too much room in the refrigerator. To my knowledge, he still hasn’t kicked his pickle habit and mine, although slow to develop, has gotten increasingly worse. Keep in mind this is only for pickles of the dill variety. Sweet gherkins, bread and butter? You won’t find those pariahs of the pickle world tainting my refrigerator door. Dill pickles are where it’s at.
Before moving South, pickles were eaten straight from the jar, sliced up and plopped down next to a sandwich, or in my brother’s case, swaddled in a paper towel to be sucked and chewed on in front of the TV. He could make the pickle eating process last an hour. I still eat them from the jar (in a far more portable and lady-like ‘spear’ size) but in pure Dixie fashion, I also predominately find them fried.
My first taste of a fried pickle? Hooter’s of course!
They actually have the best as far as I’m concerned. Crispy, salty slices of crunchy dill-ness deep fried and served with a side of mystery sauce (or ranch, they’re really one in the same). As they typically are not the healthiest menu item to order, I often refrain while out and about unless a legit craving hits.
Well the craving hit a few months back when I was up in Richmond for J’s sister’s wedding. Our hotel was within walking distance to, Sine – our traditional post 10-k lunch spot – and I noticed fried pickles on the menu. I placed my order along with a frosty Blue Moon, and I was a happy camper on a warm spring day.
I was even happier when these arrived:
Fried pickle SPEARS!! The Joy! The Rapture! The confusion…These will be far more difficult to eat. BUT, from a ‘healthy’ standpoint (as healthy as you can be preceding the consumption of anything deep-fried), less surface area to be battered and fried THEREFORE less bad for me. I was a true winner on this day.
Being the proper lady that I am, I consumed my fried pickle friend with a knife and a fork, dipped lightly in the accompanying sauce (spicy ranch) – the juxtaposition of it all. It was so good. Like, really good. The pickle was one of those fancy ‘always kept cold’ kind and they were encased in what I can only guess to be a light tempura batter – not too heavy with just the right amount of crunch. I vowed to make them.
And two months later, here they are – fried pickle spears! I, not keeping ranch in the house for fear of mass consumption, served them with awesome sauce – which I of course feel to be far superior to any lame ranch but feel free to dip in whatever you would like.
Fried Dill Pickle Spears
Yields: 12 spears
Difficulty: Easy! Only 7 ingredients – just be careful with hot oil!!
(Tempura batter recipe adapted from here)
- 1 cup of flour
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups of seltzer water
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Dill Pickle Spears, dried on a paper towel so the batter will stick
- 4 cups oil for deep-frying
- Using a large saucepan, place the oil over medium heat and bring to 350 degrees. I beg of you to be careful here. I had an unfortunate incident involving a pan of oil over high heat that may or may not have caused my apartment to set fire…
- Mix the flour, cornstarch, water, salt, and pepper in bowl until combined. I found I had to add a bit more flour (about 1/4 cup) to get the desired consistency.
- Pour the batter into a pie pan for easy dredging.
- Dredge the pickle spear in the batter allowing the excess to drip off.
- CAREFULLY place the pickle spear in the hot oil.
- Repeat with a few other spears, allowing the batter to become golden all the way around.
- Remove the spears in order pending their cooking time and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Allow the oil to get back up to temperature before repeating the process with the rest of the spears.
- Serve with awesome sauce and enjoy!