Monday, February 28, 2011

Special Edition : Fat Tuesday Fried Pickles & The Homemade Vegan Mardi Gras

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Please consider this an instant Shannons Classic.
Some people don't think of Virginia as being part of "The South". I think most of those people have either never been here, or if they have, haven't been too far outside of DC. I lived in Georgia for something like 3 years, and when I moved to Norfolk I thought I'd have to give up good Southern vegan food. I mean when I lived in Atlanta, Soul Veg was on my way home from work, and was a common haunt. But one of my first weekends in Virginia, I went to lunch with a few of the PETA campaigners and had my very first basket of fried pickles and some pretty sweet VA fried chickette (which was vegan at the time). This was a big food moment in my life.

Now, I've lived in NYC, and grew up knowing what a good pickle is. I love pickles. All kinds of pickles are my friends, but fried pickles are something special. The shared love of fried pickles is one of those first memories Dan and I ever had. So making these was more than just fun for us... it was like a tiny little second honeymoon in our kitchen. We went to New Orleans for our Honeymoon, and we're two Northern kids who love Southern food. I could bore you all day telling you how special this was for us, but we're working with a deadline here. Tomorrow is the infamous Fat Tuesday. People all over the world will be doing this and this. We're super married, so we're going to have our own little Homemade Vegan Mardi Gras, and start it all off with these babies. The other day we posted Vegan Shrimp Gumbo and listed some of our favorite Cajun and Creole recipes so you can have your own too. But in case you missed 'em - here they are:
OK - Enough of this chatter... let's git 'er done*&**. If this is your first time having fried pickles, you're in for a real treat... I hope you're ready to make a new favorite food memory!

Fried Pickles

  • 1 Jar of your favorite Dill Pickles (we choose chips that had been cut into ovals so they were bit larger, but spears or regular old chips will work)
  • 3 Cups Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Mustard Seed
  • 1 Teaspoon Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning
  • 1/2 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup White Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
In a large pot or Dutch Oven, heat your Oil on hot.

In a large shallow bowl, mix Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Dry Bread Crumbs, Whole Wheat Flour, White Flour, and Nutritional Yeast with a whisk until it is blended completely.

One at a time, take your pickles with your left hand and drop them into the Flour Mix, and then coat with your right hand. Your hand being used to fish out pickles will get wet, and your other hand will get kind pasty - so if you keep each hand doing a separate job, the whole process is a little less messy and easier. Once you have a coating on your pickle you like, remove it with your right/wet and pasty hand and carefully drop into the hot Oil. They fry fast, so once you see the coating turn a nice light golden brown, remove the pickle with a slotted spoon and place it on a plate with a paper towel on it to soak up extra Oil. Just keep repeating this process till you've fried the whole jar. Once you get the hang of it, you can do a few at a time, but start off with one so you can see how fast they brown and if you want to adjust how much coating you're getting.

If you want a thicker coating, coat the Pickle like it says above and then set them aside for 30 seconds to kinda soak up the dry coating. You'll see the powdery coating start to get kinda pasty. Then recoat with the Flour Mix and drop in the Oil like is says above.

Serve warm, and if you're feeling like a more Southern BBQ experience, you can always add a little pot of Vegan Ranch Dressing or some Bourbon BBQ sauce to dip it in.

*Pew Pew Pew
** For all you vegans playing a Meet The Shannons drinking game at home : Liquid Smoke


  1. Holy wow, this is a beautiful thing. I love fried pickles, and you normally can't get them out because they are dipped in buttermilk.

    I never thought of Virginia as "the south," being from Mississippi, but after 10 years of living in New England, I went there last year and it felt like a visit home.

  2. Want! Gah, the photo makes me drool like a fool!

  3. Any idea what the temperature setting on a deep fryer would be for these babies?

  4. Yum! These look great! I've never had fried pickles before. I just need to track down all of these ingredients, hm..

  5. I'm not sure what temp you should set a deep fryer for. We used to have one but it only had low - medium - hot settings. I did a little researching though and some of those expert deep fryers like Ms. Paula Dean say set your fryer at 350. There are a few others that say 375. So it's kinda your call on how hot your fryer runs.

    Hope that's helpful! Let me know how they turn out if you make 'em!