fried pickles with ranch creme fraiche

I’m officially declaring the summer of 2010 as the “Summer of the Pickle.”  Our Garden on Steroids has had a tendency to go overboard on just a few select items each year in the four summers we’ve put our green thumbs to the test.  Year one was tomatoes and basil (darn).  Year 2 was butternut squash – heavy on the vine production, not so heavy on the squash.  Year 3 was pattypan squash galore.  (Seriously.  Some were as big as B’s head.  I still have squash soup in the freezer.)  And this year, year 4, has been cucumbers, banana peppers and jalapenos galore.  Given I still have 2009 jalapeno poppers in the freezer, I had to find a new outlet for the garden gone mad.

And so, I dove into the world of home canning and in the process, trucked home gallons of vinegar, pounds of kosher salt, and boxes of mason jars from the grocery store.  From the cucumbers came quart upon quart of Dan Koshansky’s refrigerator pickles, Triple Dill pickles, and White Wine & Tarragon pickles.  I pickled banana peppers, because I’m obsessed with them.  Piles of jalapenos went for an unseeded (yikes!) swim in the brine to produce hellfire hot pepper slices for spicy platters of nachos throughout the winter.  And last but not least, I pickled green tomatoes – I just couldn’t make FGTs fast enough!

As I gazed across my 18 quarts (yes, I said 18) of pickled cucumbers, I realized we don’t eat enough burgers, tenderloins, or sandwiches to move through the pickles fast enough.  Something had to be done.  Something using a lot of pickles needed to be made, and quickly.  Given I’m still desperately trying to hold on to the days of summer now painfully behind me given the rate at which the leaves are falling, I decided to bust out a little State Fair action.  Yup, you guessed it.  I fried the pickles (placing on a stick is completely optional).

And in true JB fashion, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.  I couldn’t just fry up some pickles and call it good.  Oh no.  I had to pickle my own cucumbers, bread in crunchy panko bread crumbs, and make my own crème fraiche for the base of my dipping sauce.  In a complete non-J move, I decided to go with a packet of Hidden Valley ranch seasoning to add to the crème fraiche.  Heed my warnings here – this stuff is salty.  I’d recommend leaving the salt shaker where it is on the counter because between the pickles and the dip, you won’t be lacking.

As I listened to the squirrels crunch around in the fallen leaves outside as we crunched on our pickles, I glanced at the counter to happily see an empty mason jar.  One down, 17 to go…

fried pickles with ranch crème fraiche

recipe:  jb’s pour house


1 c. heavy cream

2 Tbsp. buttermilk

1 quart Dan Koshansky’s refrigerator pickles (Claussen pickles would be a good substitute)

1/2 c. flour

2 eggs, beaten

2 c. panko

½ pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix

Canola oil

Combine cream and buttermilk in a sealable jar.  Leave on the counter for 24 hours.  Stir, and if not thickened completely, leave for another 24 hours.  Once thickened, place in refrigerator and use within a week.

Combine crème fraiche and half of Hidden Valley Ranch dip mix.  Set aside.

Drain pickles from brine and blot with paper towels to dry.  Working in small batches, dredge pickle slices in flour, then egg, shaking off excess,  Coat thoroughly with panko and set aside.  Repeat with remaining pickles.

Place canola oil in a wok or large stockpot, filling about 1/3 of the way up the side of pan.  Heat over medium high heat until temperature reaches 375 degrees.  Place 6-8 pickle slices carefully in oil and fry 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove pickles from oil using a long handled slotted spoon, spider or mesh strainer.  Repeat with remaining pickles.

Serve hot with dipping sauce.

– j

All content and photographs © 2010 jb’s pour house

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