So sayeth Candace Wylie of local spice company FoodLoveTog, and we’re not sure truer words have ever been spoken. Wylie shared her recipe for fried green beans with ranch dressing, a fair food favorite and must-stop for Wylie when she’s at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. “When I go to the fair, it’s for corn, an elephant ear, and fried veggies. I’ll stand in those lines as long it takes.”
As the founder and creative director of FoodLoveTog, Wylie knows how to blend spices with other ingredients to summon comforting thoughts of food and fellowship. Ranch dressing may be the epitome of this experience. “It takes me back to home birthday parties and gatherings because you knew ranch would be there,” says Wylie. “It would be on the crudité platter. Or, for me, it was ranch dressing with crinkle cut potato chips. When you saw that Hidden Valley Ranch, you knew.”
Legend has it that Nebraskan plumber Steve Henson created ranch dressing in 1950 when he was working on a construction site in Alaska and made occasional meals for the crew. It was so popular that he kept making it for friends and family, even when he and his wife bought a dude ranch in California that they named … Hidden Valley. In 1954, Hidden Valley Ranch dressing was officially born.
Reaching for that Hidden Valley packet in the grocery store may be a convenient move, but Wylie has a DIY version that will make you a believer in the ease and value of homemade dressings. Her version is a mix of herbs and creamy ingredients like mayonnaise and buttermilk, along with spices that complete the flavor profile of a traditional ranch dressing. “I think about what flavors I want to taste when I’m dipping into something,” says Wylie. “I knew I wanted garlic and the smokiness of paprika. I wanted the earthiness of parsley and dill. And then the tang of lemon juice brings it all together.”
Ranch dressing is the go-to condiment for fried veggies at state fairs, and this fried green beans recipe is a fun and delicious way to make the most of the beans we’re seeing right now during peak farmers market season. Wylie also loves this traditional veggie batter on zucchini, which may be taking over your garden as we speak.
Read through the entire recipe before you get started, including the notes at the end. And we’d love to see your fried green bean adventures. Post your pictures on social media and tag us at @IndyMonthly or use #INStateFairAtHome.
Fried Green Beans with Ranch Dressing
- ¾ cup chilled buttermilk
- ½ cup mayonnaise (Wylie prefers Duke’s)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 small squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped dill
- Pinch of salt (adjust to your liking)
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Fried Green Beans
- 1 pound fresh green beans
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt, plus more for blanching
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups vegetable or peanut oil
To make the Ranch Dressing:
- In a bowl, combine buttermilk, mayonnaise, and sour cream. Mix until smooth.
- Add lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, pepper, and herbs. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- Taste and adjust salt or pepper as needed.
- Cover and chill until ready to serve.
- Dressing will keep in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- To make blue cheese dressing, add 4 oz. of crumbled gorgonzola blue cheese and stir to combine.
- Add an extra kick with a dollop of hot sauce or sriracha. You won’t be disappointed.
To make the Fried Green Beans:
- Wash and trim beans.
- Combine flour, corn meal, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder in shallow dish.
- Bring large pot of water to boil and salt generously.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water until at least half full and set aside.
- Blanch green beans by dropping into boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes until bright green. Remove beans from pot and drop in bowl filled with ice water. This will stop the cooking process and cool the beans before frying. (This step can be done the day before.)
- Pour vegetable oil into medium saucepan and heat over a medium flame until it reaches 350 to 375 degrees (monitor with thermometer, if possible).
- While oil is heating, drain green beans from the ice water and pat dry.
- Lightly beat egg in shallow dish.
- Dip green beans in egg a few at a time, then dredge in dry ingredients until well coated.
- Carefully lower beans into hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with the rest of the beans.
- Serve fried beans with ranch dressing immediately.