Recently I was sent a copy of Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes That Made Them Famous, a book by Morgan Murphy that was produced by Southern Living. It’s a collection of recipes from down home restaurants all over the American South. It was such a delight to read through this book, get a glimpse into Southern food culture far beyond what I’m familiar with. In his introduction Murphy makes the astute observation that to really know a place, you have to eat the food. I wholeheartedly agree with this, regional food both defines us and brings us together.
The first thing I did after reading the introduction was to flip through to the section from North Carolina, of course. I was not disappointed. In this section Murphy highlights everything from sorbet from Chapel Hill favorite Crook’s Corner to a pork chop sandwich from Andy Griffith’s hometown, Mount Airy. One thing I couldn’t pass up was this recipe for Crispy Fried Pickles from Okie Dokies Smokehouse in Swannanoa (near Asheville).
Fried pickles have always been a favorite of mine, whether they’re dill spears or okra. Fried on the grill and served with a ranch and barbeque sauce dip, these pickle chips were the perfect compliment to a summer dinner out back.
Crispy Fried Pickles
Source: Adapted from Okie Dokie Smokehouse, recipe from Off the Eaten Path
4 cups dill pickle chips, drained
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 ranch dressing
2 tbsp barbeque sauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp chipotle
1 tsp salt
After draining the pickles soak them in buttermilk in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Stir together flour and spices. Heat your oil to 375. Dip each pickle chip in the flour mixture and fry until golden (3-4 minutes).
Mix together ranch and barbeque sauce. Serve with pickles.