Cheesy Hot Dogs with Fried Bread & Butter Pickles

My mom’s birthday just so happens to fall on the Fourth of July, so every year we go to my nonna’s house to celebrate. I’m sure a lot of you are used to having barbecues and pies on the Fourth, but my mom’s side is Italian, so our Fourth of July gathering is very different.

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To paint a better picture for you, I asked my nonna if I could make something to bring over and normally, she insists that I don’t (and I bring something anyway), but this time, her eyes lit up and she asked if I could make “the cheese pie you made that one day”. And yes, it was said in an Italian accent. I was so confused and started wondering, when have I ever made a pie filled with cheese?? Then it came to me, I made a couple of quiches when we celebrated Mother’s Day and that’s what she wanted me to bring! She’s so funny.

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So, the quiche will be an appetizer accompanied by Italian cheese and meats and other dips, but that’s just the first course. There’s typically some sort of pasta, meat, rapini and fried food. There’s really nothing that resembles a barbecue, but it’s delicious and what we’ve been eating on the Fourth of years.

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While I love all of the food nonna makes, I can’t help but also crave good old American cooking, which is why I decided to put these hot dogs together for the blog. I just can’t. This is my dream hot dog. I know the pictures have ketchup and mustard, but I prefer them with just the cheese and fried pickles. The saltiness and char of the hot dog with the crunch and sweet/vinegar tang from the pickles is to die for. I’m not sure I’ll be able to eat a plain hot dog again. Sigh.

I hope you make these dogs this summer – don’t forget to tag your pictures with #marinamakeseats!

Cheese Hot Dogs with Fried Bread & Butter Pickles

Makes six hot dogs

Ingredients

  • Canola oil (about 3/4 of a cup to a cup depending on your pan size)
  • 1/3 cup of panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of corn grits
  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 24 oz jar of bread of butter pickle chips, drained
  • Six hot dogs
  • 12 slices of thinly sliced sharp cheddar
  • Six buns
  • Ketchup and mustard for serving (I don’t think you necessarily need condiments, but if you’re a ketchup and mustard lover, load them up!)

Directions

First make the fried pickles. Heat a large dutch oven or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil to coat the bottom of the pan by a half-inch. While the oil heats, combine the bread crumbs, corn grits, flour, paprika and cayenne pepper in a bowl. Stir with a spoon until combined.

After a few minutes of heating the oil, place a couple of pickles in the flour mixture, coating them all over, and then drop them in the pan. Once the pickles start bubbling and floating, the oil is good to go. Repeat with the rest of pickles in batches and remove with a slotted spoon of spatula when they become crisp and golden brown. Place on a plate lined with paper towel and let cool.

While the pickles are crisping, heat your grill to medium heat and let it pre-heat for a few minutes. When the grill is hot, place the hot dogs on the grill and cook for two to three minutes on each side. When the hot dogs are just about done, turn off the heat and place the buns on the grill with two slices of cheese in between each bun. Close the grill to allow the cheese to melt for a couple of minutes.

To assemble, place a hot dog in each bun and top with fried pickles. Drizzle with ketchup and mustard (as I mentioned above, this is not necessary, but if condiments are your thing, go for it!).

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