Fried Pickles with Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

fried pickles | chattavore
Surprising news, you guys: I love fried pickles. I remember the first time that I ever tried fried pickles: some of my sorority sisters took me to Durty Nelly’s (the restaurant/bar that used to be in the Taco Mamacita location) and said, “You have to try fried pickles!” and I was all, “Fried pickles? What?” The truth of the matter is, I never even liked pickles until I worked in a bagel shop for a few months, when I learned to love the dill spears we put on the side of our bagel sandwiches.
fried pickles | chattavore
fried pickles | chattavore
But fried pickles? Those were a revelation. Sixteen years later, I still remember those fried pickles as the best that I ever had. Funny thing is, I really didn’t eat very many fried pickles between that time and the inception of this blog, then something in my awakened and I couldn’t stop with the fried pickles. If you’ve read a lot of my restaurant blogs then you are aware that I am physically incapable of not ordering fried pickles when they appear on a menu. I’ve learned a few things about my fried pickle preferences, including that I prefer chips over spears for two simple reasons: (1) you get more of them; and (2) you are far less likely to burn the roof of your mouth on pickle chips than spears. Also, ranch dressing is a great accompaniment for fried pickles but only if it’s house made ranch. Nothing disappoints me more than getting Sysco ranch dressing alongside some great pickles.
fried pickles | chattavore
For some reason my fried pickle craving has been through the roof recently (no, I am not pregnant) so I decided it was time to crack the code. I don’t suppose that fried pickles are really a “southern” preparation but because they are so often served with barbecue, which is a decidedly southern food (unless you are from Kansas City, of course), and because I southernized this recipe all up with cornmeal and buttermilk, I have decided that it counts. And this dressing? One of the best I’ve ever made, inspired by a similar recipe by the Lee Brothers, who are among my southern cooking idols, this dressing is similar to ranch but not that much. It’s tangier (for obvious reasons, lime, hello) and a little sweeter and, well, just unexpected and it pairs perfectly with the fried pickles. I can’t wait to serve it alongside some fried green tomatoes this summer. But for now I’m just oh so excited that now I don’t have any reason to go out to a restaurant when I want fried pickles.
fried pickles | chattavore

Fried Pickles

Serves 2-4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 15 minutes
Allergy Milk, Wheat
Meal type Appetizer, Snack
Misc Serve Hot
Website Food Network

Ingredients

  • canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dill pickle chips (drained and dried on paper towels)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal (not cornbread mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

Directions

Step 1
Pour about half an inch of oil into a 9-10 inch skillet (I use my 9-inch cast iron skillet). Place over medium heat.
Step 2
While the oil is heating, whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then add the buttermilk and whisk to make a thick batter.
Step 3
Place half of the pickle chips into the batter and use tongs to toss them to coat in the batter. When the oil is shimmering, place the chips in a single layer in the pan.
Step 4
Fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until brown. Remove to paper towels and repeat with remaining pickles. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk-Lime Dressing

Serves 1 1/4 cup
Prep time 5 minutes
Allergy Milk

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 green onion
  • juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley (tightly packed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Step 1
If using a blender, place all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. If not using a blender, finely chop the green onion then whisk all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate for up to a week.

fried pickles | chattavore