Just as some parents of little ones are required to check for monsters in the closet, my mom was required to check for pickles on my burgers. Despite always ordering a very plain cheeseburger, an itsy bitsy pickle occasionally managed to wiggle its way on there and terrify me. Like, spider on my face in the middle of the night terrifying. And no, I don’t really know why.
Luckily I’ve since gotten over my fear and embraced the pickle and thrown parties in its honor, and not just because they were cool in Brooklyn (okay maybe that was exactly why). And it’s a darn good thing I warmed up to pickles, because cheesy fried pickles at the Toasted Frog in downtown Grand Forks are the quintessential late-night food around here. Just like Steak ’n Shake was quintessential in Glenview, just like pizza was in New York.
When the Ladies of Grand Forks Brunch Club convenes during the week, it’s not breakfast for dinner, it’s gin and tonics and pickles wrapped in Havarti cheese and egg roll skins and fried and then dunked in Sriracha ranch. They’re so good. The chewy egg roll skin is what makes them addictive, while the crunchy sour pickle inside kind of creates the illusion that you’re being healthy by eating a vegetable.
Drain your pickles and use a paper towel to pat off any excess moisture. Wrap each pickle in a slice of cheese and then wrap each in an egg roll skin. Seal it well, using a bit of water on the edges.
Pour 2 inches of oil into a large pot. Clip on a deep-fry thermometer and heat the oil over medium-high heat to 360ºF.
Working in batches, fry the pickles until golden brown and crispy on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and let cool slightly. Slice in half crosswise and serve with Sriracha ranch.
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From Molly on the Range by Molly Yeh © 2016. Photographs © 2016 by Chantell Quernemoen. Reprinted with permission from Rodale Books.