Beyond grits and gravy, 287pp.
by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley
Quail Ridge Press, Brandon Mississippi, 2004
Cooking on page 32
One look at the word ‘grits’ and I knew this book was about American Southern cooking. In fact, it’s part of the Best of the Best series of cookbooks highlighting favourite recipes from different regions and states in the United States.
McKee and Moseley travelled thousands of miles in the USA to compile all 42 books in the series. Recipes have come from popular restaurants, noted chefs, local publications, Junior League members, community organisations and everyday good cooks.
Today’s page-32 recipe is from a 1980 cookbook, A man’s taste by the Junior League of Memphis Tennessee.
French fried dill pickles
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup beer
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 dashes Tabasco
Cut dill pickles in slices as thick as a silver dollar. Mix the rest of the ingredients together. Dip pickle slices in batter and quick-fry at 375°F in grease until the pickle slices float to the top, or about 4 minutes.
How it played out
As soon as I started putting together the ingredients, I knew this recipe was never going to work as is. How in the world was 1/4 cup of beer ever going to make a batter with almost 3/4 cup of dry ingredients?
I upped the beer to almost a cup, which made a batter consistency. But when I went to fry the pickle slices, all the batter floated off into the oil.
I’ve checked a lot of fried dill pick recipes—something I’d never heard of when I lived in the USA but which now appear on almost every menu ther—and the dry to liquid ratio is much different.
Many recipes also start with a dip in seasoned flour, then batter, then the flour again.
I made these as an appetiser for a friend’s drinks party. They tasted fine, actually quite good, but they looked so dismal on the plate.
I was disappointed with the results and will be looking for a different fried dill pickle recipe when I feel the urge to have them again.
P.S. I tried fried dill pickle spears in the USA in December when I was there for a family wedding. They are tasty and I was looking forward to duplicating them at home.