My husband and I went through a rather unhealthy phase in our lives a couple of years ago. This phase happened to coincide with my time in grad school and it featured frequent trips to pubs, abundant convenience food, and takeout – mainly pizza or Chinese (the bad kind of Chinese: deep-fried and smothered in corn-syrupy sauces). On top of that I had a highly stressful and demanding schedule; I rarely got more than 4-5 hours of sleep per night, and all-nighters before big deadlines were all too common.
I slowly but surely gained about a pound every month or so. This doesn’t seem like much, but over three years I noticed a huge change in my body. After graduation, I entered the Real World and started my Real Job and found (to my horror and dismay) that stretchy sweatpants, then being the only pants that actually fit, were inappropriate for the corporate world.
Fast forward about a year and a half and I am back down to a “happy” size. My lifestyle as a whole has improved. I get lots of sleep, exercise regularly, and (probably most importantly) I eat fresh, real, healthy food the majority of the time. I feel better and look better.
It seems so simple! However, in a world where there are constant demands on our time and convenience foods are so, well, convenient, it is exceptionally easy to slip into unhealthy habits.
Okay. Enough of that. It was basically a long-winded introduction to the recipe I am sharing today for Oven Fried Pickles with Creamy Dill Dip. Back in the day, my Better Half would have an order of deep-fried pickles and a pound of hot wings for dinner. Seriously. That was dinner. Sometimes we still crave those same flavours but would rather not resort to a deep fryer. I believe these pickles are the perfect compromise, as you lose neither the satisfying crunch nor the briny flavour of the deep-fried version. The cool, creamy dip made with Greek yogurt perfectly balances each bite.
I like to use the “sandwich saver” cut of pickles, as it provides the maximum surface area and therefore the most crunch. You can use pickle spears or coins if you prefer. The dip is also miraculous with roasted potatoes, raw vegetables, or on top of salmon – so versatile! Try these for dinner tonight, with or without the hot wings.
- 12 pickle slices or spears (more if you're using coins)
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup Panko (or other bread crumbs)
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 heaping teaspoon grainy mustard
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 2-3 dashes hot sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.
- Set 3 shallow bowls/dishes in a row. Place the flour in the first, the beaten egg in the second, and in the third mix the Panko/crumbs, Old Bay, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
- Dredge each pickle slice in the flour, covering completely and shaking off excess. Then coat it in egg, coating completely. Finally, toss the pickle in the bread crumb mixture, pressing to coat evenly. Place on the baking sheet.
- Repeat dredging/coating process for the remaining pickles. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over, and bake for another 8 minutes, until golden brown. While the pickles are baking, make the dill dip.
- In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, dill, and hot sauce. Mix until combined, then taste and add salt and pepper. (Note: Don't add too much salt - remember that the pickles are already salty!)
- When the pickles are done, serve with dill dip. Best if eaten immediately, while they're still hot.