To get to Fire Island, there is a short ferry ride from Bay Shore, NY to the island. Ferries run pretty often during the summer, but I still always find myself racing to get to the train so I don’t miss the ferry, or sweating it out in traffic on the LIE worrying that I’ll miss the boat. The truth is though, missing the boat, although it means an hour wait for the next ferry, also means sandwiches from Nicky’s Clam bar.
Nicky’s is a seafood restaurant right at the ferry dock that has been there my entire life. Growing up, my parents and I would always get our Friday night dinner there and eat it on the dock before getting on the 9:15 boat to Fair Harbor. As I got older and started to make trips on my own out to the beach with friends, that Friday night tradition faded. But I still love Nicky’s greasy takeout, especially the fried fish sandwiches with their tangy tartar sauce and spicy curly fries.
My summer obsession this year however has been fried pickles. These snacks have been showing up at bars and restaurants all over the city and I am truly in love with them. I’ve always been a huge pickle person – as a young child I used to eat pickles in my stroller for breakfast, especially out at the beach with my dad. All these summer memories of fried fish sandwiches and pickles inspired me to do a sort of reverse fried fish sandwich, with a fried pickle and smoked trout. The tartar sauce is totally what makes this bite awesome. It’s so summery to me and brings back great memories of being a little kid out at the beach, suntanned, sandy and happy.
(Makes 10 pickle chips)
For the Tartar Sauce:
1 egg yolk
2 tsp Dijon
1 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
5 caperberries, diced
5 cornichons, diced
½ red pepper, diced
1 bunch scallions, whites and greens chiffonnade
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper
- Whisk together egg yolk and Dijon. When combined, add the oil in a slow drizzle while constantly whisking to make your mayonnaise base.
- Add remaining ingredients and season to taste. Refrigerate; tartar sauce will keep up to 1 week.
For the Fried Pickles:
1 sour pickle, sliced into ¼ inch slices
3 cups Canola oil, for frying
- Coat pickles in buttermilk, then cornmeal.
- Heat oil until a breaded pickle sizzles and bubbles vigorously when placed in the oil. Carefully fry pickles and remove from oil using a slotted spoon.
- Place fried pickles on a towel-lined plate and salt while still hot.
For the Smoked Fish:
We smoked our own trout for this bite using wood chips and a makeshift smoker. You can also buy smoked trout at specialty grocery stores, which might be more practical for home cooking.
For the bite, we made a sandwich of fried pickle, the cold tartar sauce and the smoky trout. Serve immediately!
© 2011 Jonathan Meter and Jessica Hertle