The first time I ate fried pickles was at Smitty’s, a little diner just off the square in Oxford, Mississippi, while I was attending a conference with my high-school lit teacher. The biggest highlight of the day was meeting Stephen King, but those fried pickles were a close second. I mean, how can you go wrong with gratuitous salt and grease?
Feel free to double or triple the recipe, but be prepared to change your oil at least once or twice so it doesn’t get totally polluted with scorched flour. This recipe makes two servings.
1 c. flour
1/4 packet Italian dressing mix (optional; you can also use dill, parsley, taco seasoning, or whatever floats your boat)
1 c. cheap dill pickle slices
Canola or peanut oil
Heat oil in a heavy cast-iron skillet. I forgot to measure mine, but you want about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil in the bottom of the skillet.
While the oil heats, stir flour and seasoning together in a cereal bowl and dredge the pickle slices in it to coat. (If you want to speed this process up, you can also throw everything in a ziplock bag and shake it up. If you use a freezer bag, you can fill it up and freeze whatever you don’t use so the next round is faster.)
Fry the slices in oil, turning as needed, until they’re browned and crispy. Adjust the heat and add or change oil as necessary to keep it from smoking.
Drain on paper towels. I drain mine twice — when they come off the stove, I put them on a platter lined with paper towels, and when they’re cool enough to handle, I transfer them to smaller plates lined with paper towels to absorb a bit more of the oil and keep them from getting soggy.
Serve with mustard or ranch dressing. Goes well with Southern food.
If you like sweet pickles, you can fry them the same way and serve them with barbecue sauce.