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FESTIVAL FOOD WEEK: FRIED PICKLES

You love those freakish fried foods available only at festivals and fairs. So why wait? You can make them at home. (Though we're not 100 percent sure you should.) This week, we'll share a few fun recipes. Fire up the deep fat fryer! This recipe is courtesy of Jennifer Clement of Maggie's Pickle Cafe in Hot Springs, Ark. The recipe comes from foodnetwork.com.

INGREDIENTS

24 dill pickle spears, chilled

Egg wash, recipe follows

Breading, recipe follows

Canola oil, for frying

Ranch dressing, recipe follows

DIRECTIONS

Using only very cold dill pickle spears, dip pickle into egg wash and then coat with breading. Repeat until no pickles remain, and arrange dipped pickles on a sheet pan lined with waxed paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

In a deep fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees. Alternatively, heat oil in a large, heavy pot suitable for deep-frying. Carefully add chilled pickle spears, in batches, to the hot oil and fry for about 3 1/2 minutes or until golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with Ranch Dressing.

Egg Wash:

2 cups milk

2 eggs

Pinch lemon pepper

Pinch dill weed

Pickle juice

Breading:

2 1/2 cups cornmeal

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup lemon pepper

1/2 cup dill weed

4 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons garlic salt

Pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste

For egg wash: In a baking dish, whisk all ingredients together, except pickle juice. Add pickle juice, to taste, and whisk to combine.

For breading: Combine all ingredients in a baking dish.

Ranch Dressing:

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sour cream

3 tablespoons minced parsley leaves

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 garlic clove, minced

Mayonnaise

In a large mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together, except mayonnaise. Add mayonnaise, as needed, to thicken. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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