Move over, onion dip. Fried pickles need some room on the snack table. Coated in beer batter, and finished with panko bread crumbs, it’s the briny appetizer of your salt-lovin’ dreams. They can be made in a skillet or “fried” in an air fryer. I have directions for both in the recipe below.
When I was in high school, I attended almost every varsity football game. It wasn’t because I was a huge sports fan or because I had a boyfriend on the team. (My high school boyfriends were more concerned with curtain calls than quarterbacks.) I was there on Friday nights, with the bright lights shining down on the field, because I performed with the band at halftime. I was a flag twirler (a.k.a. a member of the color guard.) You may recognize me as Miss Flag Iowa 1992… Please, save your applause.
There was always some stress during the first half of the game, as we waited for our chance to get on the field. See, we practiced in the wee hours of morning when the air was calm and still. At 6:30 a.m. it was fairly easy to toss and catch a flag without a drop. But in the evenings, the wind would pick up. Surrounded by stands full of classmates and parents, the stakes were higher.
So after the halftime show, we could all relax. My girlfriends and I would gab in the stands, and drink hot cocoa under blankets. (It got cold sitting on metal seats in October.) Finally, the buzzer would blast, and I was reminded that there had been a game going on. That was our cue to pick up our coats and flags, and head back to the band room to pack up.
Since no one is counting on me to twirl a flag at the Super Bowl on Sunday, you can feel very confident that I won’t be watching any football. (It’s too bad, though. I still have a flag in my hall closet.) However, if there’s one thing I can get behind for game day, it’s appetizers. I love making a meal of snacky foods.
Crispy fried pickles
Whether you’ll be having friends over to watch the game, or the Puppy Bowl, or a Bob Ross marathon on Netflix, I know just the thing for your snacking needs – crispy fried pickles. Served with a side of vegan ranch, they are crazy dippable. Crisp on the outside, briny on the inside, they are double coated – first in beer batter and then in panko bread crumbs. The hoppy beer batter doesn’t overwhelm, but it rounds out the flavor and adds some warmth.
Japanese-style panko bread crumbs give the fried pickles an extra crisp exterior, and they make this appetizer air fryer material. Wet batter doesn’t work too well in an air fryer. The hot air moving at a frantic speed makes the batter fly off like a flag going awry in the wind. Panko holds the batter down and keeps it secured to the pickle. If you’d like to make these fried pickles ahead of time, they reheat well in the air fryer. (Find directions for reheating in the notes of the recipe box below.)
Don’t have an air fryer? No worries. I’ve also included directions for shallow frying these fried pickles in a skillet. Either way, they come out beautifully. And you know that Miss Flag Iowa wouldn’t lie to you.
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