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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Recipe of the Month – Pickle Disappointment

Thursday, June 24, 2010 @ 03:06 PM

pickle If you have been following PCC for a little while, or you are a friend of mine, I am sure you are well aware at my affinity for pickles.  I seriously have hardly come across a pickle I didn’t like (well maybe except for the super spicy ones!).  But seriously, I love them and if I am not careful could easily put down a whole jar in one sitting.  That being said, prior to moving to Texas, I’d really only had the standard jar variety, having tried almost every brand out there.  But, when we moved down south, I started noticing that that almost every restaurant you visit has them on the menu…as a FRIED option! 🙂 Needless to say, I was very intrigued.  I mean come on…what’s not to like? One of my most favorite foods ever, deep fried…umm yeah, sign me up!

Well since then, it would seem as though they have become a cultural phenomenon, because as of late, I have even heard of some northern restaurants beginning to bring them on board.  I think what is so great about the combination, aside from it being fried and all, is the added crunch to an already enjoyable crunchy treat.  The breading a lot of these places use also has seasonings which add some zest to that salty pickle. Finally, most also come with a great sauce to dip with, which is typically an added punch of yumminess.

I would say I could eat them daily, but I do try to restrain myself. However, as a special treat from time to time, there is nothing betta!  So it is very sad that we have moved away from what seemed to be the fried pickle mecca, but that might be better for my waistline. With that said, it was while reading my June 2010 issue of Food Network Magazine that my attention was caught by the “Recipe of the Month” contest winner…Pretzel-Crusted Pickle Chips With Mustard Sauce.  Sounds pretty good don’t it?  Well, from the looks of the picture, I was hooked, and I immediately tore out that recipe and put it on the list of things to try out myself.  Who cares if I have never tried to deep fry anything. I was not going to let that deter me from attempting to be able to create fried pickles in my own home.  So here we go…

Pretzel-Crusted Pickle Chips with Mustard Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Danica Preston for Food Network Magazine

Prep Time:
10 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
10 min
Level:
Easy
Serves:
4-6 servings

Ingredients

For the Sauce:
  • 1 1/4-inch-thick slice red onion, finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 11/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt
For the Chips:
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 6 large dill pickles, sliced diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
  • 2 cups salted mini pretzels
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Celery salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Directions

Make the sauce: Mix the onion, both mustards, the mayonnaise, paprika, garlic powder and salt to taste in a bowl. Set the sauce aside.

Make the chips: Heat 1/2 inch vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Gently pat the pickle slices dry with a paper towel.

Put the pretzels in a large resealable plastic bag and crush into coarse crumbs using a rolling pin or heavy pan; transfer to a plate. Whisk the eggs in a shallow bowl and put the flour in another bowl. Dredge the pickle slices in the flour, shaking off any excess; dip in the beaten eggs, then dip in the pretzel crumbs, turning to coat. Working in batches, fry the pickles until golden and crisp, about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with celery salt, if desired. Serve warm with the mustard sauce.

Source

As the recipe describes, the first step was to put together the various ingredients for the mustard sauce.  This required finely chopping some red onion and then measuring out both types of mustards, mayo, paprika, and garlic powder that is added.  With a little stir and sprinkle of salt that was done and ready to go…Easy Peasy.

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Next, I cut up 6 large dill pickles into approximately 1/4” slices on the diagonal.  This is where I think I messed up a little, because I seemed to make my slices a tad on the thick side, which made it difficult later on in the frying process.  Once the pickles were sliced, I crushed 2 cups of small salted pretzels with a rolling pin, and prepped the other ingredients needed to fry these bad boys.

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Now from here on, unfortunately, my camera and I didn’t see eye to eye, considering at this point in time, all the pictures I took of the preparation, frying, and final product will not upload.  That being said I can still describe for you what I did and provide a lovely Food Network test kitchens image of the final product…so that is what I’m going to do. 🙂

In preparation for frying, I had the various ingredients on dishes in an assembly line to make it easier on myself.  The order went: pickle slices, flour (for dredging), egg, pretzel crumbs, and finally the hot oil in a pan on the stovetop.  I continued to dredge pickle slices in flour, egg, and then the pretzel mixture with about 8 – 10 chips at a time and then placing them in the oil before I would repeat the process with another batch.  I made approximately 3 full batches, or 30 – 40 pickle chips.

What I found hard was my slices were awfully juicy and they were not allowing much to stick to them, including the pretzels themselves that just did not seem to want to cover the pickle.  I found they didn’t make the adequate crust I thought they might, and definitely not anything that looked like the picture.  Additionally, having to dredge and fry up that many slices is a bit time consuming and tedious.  Maybe I’m just not cut out for that type of cooking ;).  Anyway, although this is not exactly what mine looked like, these are pretty darn close.

Pickle1.tif

They look so tasty don’t they? And to be honest, mine did not look that much different. Unfortunately, they just didn’t have all the zip I thought they might, and don’t know if the final product warrants that I make them again.

TASTE: I have to say that I was sort of disappointed with these pickle creations. The final chips tasted ok and I was able to enjoy the fried, salty, pickley combination, but they were definitely lacking in overall flavor.  We each ate a few, but threw the majority out, which would never happen if we ordered them in a restaurant. When I mentioned before that I enjoy the zest a lot of restaurants add to their seasoning, I think these were majorly lacking in that department.  That would have been fine if the pretzel taste was strong, but too be honest, it was really hard to tell at all that the breading was made of pretzel.  I think that is because the pretzel pieces just didn’t want to stick well to the slices and therefore it did not create and adequate coating or crunch.

However, what made up for these babies was the mustard dipping sauce.  Holy cow it was pure zesty amazingness, and we have been putting it on everything since! 🙂  It wasn’t enough to save these chips or warrant making THEM again, but the mustard sauce was truly a great combination of flavors and something I WILL make again, just to have on hand.

EASE OF PREPERATION: Although I complained about the tedious nature of frying these chips, overall it was not a terribly complex recipe.  The sauce required the most ingredients, but it was simply a matter of measuring and stirring.  Also, coating the pickle chips, once all the dredging plates were out, was just a step by step process.  I just chose to dredge in batches and then fry in batches to save myself some time. Finally, looking back, it comes to mind that I also could have saved some time with the chips themselves if I would have just gone with pre-cut pickle chips from the store instead of the large whole pickles that I had to cut. I think that would have helped with the size and coating of my chips and possibly the end result, as well. Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight.

COST: It was a very cheap dish to make, most of the ingredients being typically on hand in most kitchens.  Since we just moved, we actually had to purchase almost every item on this list, but given different circumstances, I think we would have had everything already.  So given that, easy to whip up at any given moment.

COMPLEXITY: As I mentioned above, it was all pretty self explanatory, and even though I had never fried anything before, I was able to get the hang of it without any major problems.  The only thing I ran into was the oil getting too hot with one batch. So, if your stove is touchy, I would say it is a matter of trial and error.

PORTION SIZE: The recipe says it yields 4-6 servings. However, I would say that the size of these babies and how easy they are to simply pop in your mouth, I would double the recipe if I were going to make enough to feed 4 – 6.  Heck, Adam and I almost finished them all by ourselves! 😉 I think when they created the recipe they assume people stop after only a couple of chips; but let’s be honest…likely not going to happen.

So although I had such high hopes for this dish, I think it is only worthy of 3 ‘Little Piggies,’ taking a big hit for taste.

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