Recipe adapted from Southern from Scratch by Ashley English
“I came late to fried dill pickles. They just sounded too awful to stomach. And then I came across a cornmeal-battered version and it all came together for me. Don’t skip the sorghum mayo! It complements the pickles profoundly.” —Ashley English
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup medium-grind cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- Dash of hot sauce
- 1 pint (2 cups) Dill Pickles (recipe follows), cut into ¼-inch chips
- Peanut oil for frying
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon sorghum syrup
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, garlic, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
- Whisk a dash of hot sauce into the egg.
- Dab the pickle slices on a paper towel or kitchen cloth to remove excess moisture.
- Dip the pickle slices in the egg and then dredge them in the cornmeal mixture. Place on a large plate or platter and set them aside.
- Heat ½ inch of peanut oil in a large
cast ironskillet to 360°F. Carefully lay half of the battered pickles in the pan. Cook 90 seconds per side, until golden brown.
- Using a kitchen spider or slotted spoon, remove the pickles from the pan. Drain on a paper towel, and then repeat with the second half.
- Stir the sorghum into the mayonnaise, creating the dipping sauce.
- Be sure to let the fried pickles cool for a few minutes before serving, as the pickle juices can be very hot. Serve with the sorghum mayonnaise.
Kitchen Tip: Finely ground cornmeal is also okay if you don’t prefer the crunchiness.
Snacking on whole dill pickles has been a familial lifetime pastime. Mom was a devoted fan of all products of the Mt. Olive brand, based in Mount Olive, North Carolina. We were never without a jar, or five, of Mt. Olive’s offerings in our pantry and refrigerator. Inspired as a child watching my grandmother, Nanny, produce countless jars of canned goods, I knew that dill pickles would assuredly be a go-to in my own kitchen as an adult. My garden yields basketfuls of pickling cucumbers all summer long, and this is my most frequent means of using them up.
- 3 pounds pickling cucumbers
- ¾ cup pickling salt
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 3½ cups water
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 teaspoons dill seeds
- 8 fresh dill sprigs, or 4 teaspoons dried dill
- Black peppercorns
- Rinse the cucumbers in cold water. Cut a thin slice off the blossom end of each cucumber. If you can’t tell which end is the blossom end, just remove a thin slice from each end. Discard or compost the ends.
- Place the cucumbers in a large nonreactive bowl, such as glass or ceramic. Add ½ cup of the salt, cover with water, stir to combine, and cover loosely with a kitchen cloth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to cool for at least 8 hours.
- Drain the cucumbers and rinse them well under cold water. At this point, you may leave them whole, halve them, or cut them into quarters. (If planning to make Fried Dill Pickles with Sorghum Mayo, leave cucumbers whole.) Set aside.
- Fill a canner or large stockpot with water, place eight pint jars inside, and set over medium-high heat. Bring just to the boiling point.
- Bring the vinegar, water, and the remaining ¼ cup salt to a boil in a medium pot. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer the brine to a pourable, spouted container, such as a heatproof measuring cup, if desired.
- Using a jar lifter, remove the hot jars from the canner and place on top of a kitchen cloth on the counter. Place 1 garlic clove, ½ teaspoon dill seeds, 1 fresh dill sprig or ½ teaspoon dried dill, and 8 peppercorns in each jar. With the help of a canning funnel, pack the reserved cucumbers into the jars, topped off by the brine, reserving ½ inch headspace.
- Use a spatula or wooden chopstick to remove any trapped air bubbles around the interior circumference of the jars. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth. Place on the lids and screw bands, tightening only until fingertip-tight.
- Again using a jar lifter, slowly place the filled jars in the canner. Be sure that the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil, and then process for 10 minutes, starting the timer once the water is at a full, rolling boil. Adjust for altitude as needed.
- Turn off the heat. Remove jars and place directly on a kitchen towel. Let cool, untouched, for several hours. Retighten lid bands, if needed, and store in a cool, dark place.
Kitchen Tip: Chop Dill Pickles into small pieces and use alongside capers and minced fresh dill in tuna or salmon salad for an extra pop of flavor.