Since moving to the U.S., I have missed plenty of Austrian but also Czech dishes and am usually not too happy with the American renditions of those dishes that do exist here (yes, I am looking at you sauerkraut). But by now there are also plenty of American dishes that I would miss. One of my absolute favorites is fried pickles; it is ingenious – dill pickles are great to begin with, but fried they are pretty much heavenly. Fried pickles are exactly what they sound like – sliced and battered dill pickles that are fried in hot oil and then served with a dipping sauce such as Ranch. Since my husband hates pickles in any form – fried or not, this is also one of the appetizers that I definitely do not have to share during a dinner out.
My favorite local version of the dish is served at the Texas Roadhouse chain restaurant, which also offers another favorite – peanuts. Since I very rarely like the bread served in the U.S. (too soft, too fluffy, too white), I am excited that the restaurant offers peanuts in addition to the obligatory free restaurant bread that I usually just ignore anyways. Between the free peanuts and the addictive fried pickles, I have a nearly perfect meal; add a couple of beers, and I do not even need the steak when we eat out at this steakhouse (yes, I am a cheap date).
The following recipe for fried pickles is based on the recipe from Betty Crocker and works well. I also like that the site does not offer any nutrition information for the fried pickles – it would just ruin a perfectly fine food.
- 1 32-oz jar of dill pickle slices/chips; drained
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons of hot sauce (or less/more according to taste)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons of Cajun seasoning (or less/more according to taste)
- vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- Pat pickles dry with paper towels. In a shallow bowl (I would call it a Suppenteller in German), mix 1 cup of buttermilk and the hot sauce. In another shallow bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, and Cajun seasoning.
- In a heavy saucepan, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Dip the pickles in the buttermilk mixture; then dip them in the flour mixture to coat them. Work in small batches to fry pickles about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve them warm with a dipping sauce such as Ranch.
- Try not to eat the whole batch on your own.