Vegetables for Southern Fryers

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

It’s no secret that in the South, food is top priority, and that fried food is a favorite in Southern kitchens.  Fryers are an important addition to any Southern restaurant, as there are so many fried foods that are part of the Southern cooking tradition.  County fairs are famous for filling their fryers with such strange things as s’mores and cotton candy, and “chicken-fried steak” is something that has confused many a Northerner on at least one occasion.  Fried vegetables are ubiquitous on Southern menus, and there are many options for veggies to throw in the fryers.  The batter for vegetables in those fryers is fairly uniform, often consisting of an eggwash or buttermilk dip, coated with a flour or cornmeal mixture and some spices.  Her are a few of our favorite Southern deep-fried vegetables which are sure to keep your fryers full.

Fried Pickles
Battered pickles fresh out of the kitchen fryers are a Southern staple.  Almost any Southern barbecue menu will list fried pickles as an optional side, and some even include them on their burgers!  Many chain restaurants have them on their appetizer menus as well for variety.  There are two types of fried pickles: chips and wedges.  Chips are small, round, and thin, as they come from slicking the pickle crosswise.  Cutting the pickle lengthwise fewer times produces wedges, making for a juicier result.  Fried pickles are often served with blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, or a similarly creamy sauce.

Fried Green Tomatoes
Made famous by the 1991 film of the same name, fried green tomatoes can be eaten as a side dish, or for breakfast or brunch!  They are a great way to use up end-of-season tomatoes.  Just thinly slice the green tomatoes, then dip them in seasoned cornmeal and fry until crispy.

Fried Okra
Okra is a vegetable that is a fryer’s delight.  The okra plant itself is actually a flowering plant, but its edible seed pods are what make it so deliciously famous.  To make fried okra, slice the pod crosswise so that each piece of okra is bite-sized.  The okra is then coated with a mixture of buttermilk, cornmeal, flour, and seasoning, and deep-fried.  Serve them with ketchup or hot sauce, or by themselves!

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