fair play: baked dill pickle chips
The Del Mar Fair is possibly the best example of American overindulgence in existence. Fair food is overpriced, needlessly extravagant, and unapologetically greasy. Blooming onions, chocolate-covered bacon, potato chip towers, funnel cakes that serve 12 people, fried chicken sandwiches made with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and just about everything you could possibly think of deep-fried (Oreos, Kool-Aid, zucchini, Starbucks, brownies, Snickers bars, and butter, to name a few).
I love junk food; I'm not usually a fan of really oil-soaked, over-portioned junk food (because you can't eat as much of it), but I will always make exceptions for giant smoked turkey legs, churros, jumbo pickles, Tasti chips, fried clams, and cinnamon rolls. But last year pre-Singapore, I decided to go all out for my last month of American food for a while, and I found something I really liked (no, not the Krispy Kreme fried chicken sandwich; don't be disgusting). Fried pickles! I had no idea such things existed (I'd always steered clear of the chocolate-dipped ones). But as it turns out, they're a popular Southern treat. Smashburger has really great ones also. And thus, my entire world opened up.
I used this recipe from Lemons for Lulu and combined it with this Hooters copycat recipe. I decided to bake them because it's healthier, and more importantly because I'm scared of the deep-fryer. But I found that these still maintain a great crunchy texture with a nice kick of spice on the outside, and are juicy and tender on the inside. You can play around with the spices and breading to your liking, but I chose to coat them with an egg-buttermilk mixture and then a Parmesan-panko blend.
Some of you will hate this recipe. But you will be wrong, because they are delicious. Save your judgment for the fried butter.
BAKED DILL PICKLE CHIPS
Yields: Three trays of pickle chips
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
1 jar dill pickles, sliced
1 cup buttermilk (optional, but I find they coat better with buttermilk)
1 cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese (also optional, but the flavors are so good)
1 cup flour
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 cup panko and cook until lightly toasted, about two minutes, stirring continually.
Place panko in a bowl, add spices (¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp chili powder, 1 tsp black pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder). Place 1 cup flour in a second bowl and 2 egg whites/1 cup buttermilk in a third bowl. Slice pickles into chips and pat dry.
Dip pickles in flour, then egg white mixture, and lastly into the panko crumbs. Arrange pickles in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake for 8 minutes, flip, and then bake for another 8 minutes.
These are best piping-hot, right out of the oven. You could save them too, but I doubt they'll even last that long on the table. Pair with a 32-ounce frozen Coca-Cola and a bucket of cotton candy for that classic Del Mar Fair experience.
Enjoy! And catch you at the fair ^_^ I'll be there on the 27th for Trevor Noah.