Do you ever go to Hooters? Me neither.
Okay, let me amend my “ever” to “rarely.” I’ve been twice – once for a friend’s 23rd birthday (eesh, that one was a long time ago), and another time with clients during a work trip. As a vegetarian with walkable access to several charismatic local sports bars with way better food options, I really have no reason to ever go there. Although honestly, I really dig that they sell pantyhose in the ladies’ room. I would’ve saved a lot of mid-day CVS trips if my office did that – I seriously can’t get through a full workday without getting a run in mine.
The first time I went, I ordered the fried pickles. They didn’t make much of an impression, because I was 24 and everything I ate that year was fried and dipped in ranch. The second time, in my 30s, I ordered them again, this time more due to the limited menu than any lingering proclivity toward the deep-fried. And whoa. If I hadn’t quickly figured out that I could make a variation at home, I might’ve had a reason to become a Hooters regular.
This baked version is obviously lighter and healthier than anything deep-fried, but loses nothing in flavor and crispy satisfaction. If you’re a saltaholic snack addict like me, these might be your dream appetizer.
- 48 dill pickle slices (the ones with ridges work best to keep the coating on, and the big Claussen ones are my favorite)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup fine cornmeal
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ tsp sea salt
- Several grinds fresh black pepper
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly oiled foil.
- Remove pickles from jar and drain on paper towels.
- Combine milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cornmeal, flour, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
- Dip each pickle slice in the milk/vinegar mixture, then dredge them in the breadcrumb mixture, thoroughly coating each side. Place on baking sheets and spray tops lightly with cooking spray.
- Cook for 5-7 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove and let cool for at least five minutes before serving.
- Serve with your favorite ranch dressing, aioli or other dip of choice.
Source: Adapted from Mary’s Bites