Fried banana pepper rings are a culinary favorite where I live in Kentucky and throughout the South. The peppers grow in abundance here, and I canned several jars of pickled peppers in anticipation of making my own deep-fried banana pepper rings this winter.
After recently cracking open a jar, I realized that the canning process had softened the banana pepper slices, which made them too difficult to fry as individual rings, so I improvised this recipe using local, seasonal pantry ingredients.
These cornmeal cakes make use of farm-grown cornmeal and pasture-raised eggs. I fried the cakes in grease leftover from bacon purchased from a local farmer, but you can make a veggie-friendly version using grape-seed oil or another oil that stands up to high heat. Add spices like turmeric for more health-boosting properties and flavor. I used my mushy pickles here, but you can toss in any other preserved veggies that are popularly fried in cornmeal batter, such as pickled okra slices, frozen or pickled corn, sauerkraut, or green tomatoes.
Recipe: Cornmeal Fritters with Pickled Banana Peppers
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup pickled banana pepper slices
- oil or bacon grease for frying
Mix the cornmeal, salt and spices in a bowl. Add the eggs to the dry ingredients, and whisk together to form a batter. Drain the liquid from the pickled banana pepper slices. Add to the batter.
Heat several tablespoons of oil in a cast-iron pan.
Scoop 1/8 cup batter onto the heated pan to form each pancake. Heat until small bubbles appear in the pancakes and the first side appears to be browned. Flip, and cook until the second side is browned.
Place the cooked pancakes on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain excess grease.