Fried Eggplant with Honey is a popular vegetarian tapa in Spain. These crunchy eggplants are deep-fried in olive oil and finished with a sprinkle of salt and good-quality honey.
Have you ever wondered about nice authentic vegetarian tapas? This crunchy Fried Eggplant with Honey tapa is what you are looking for! Called ‘Berenjena con Miel‘ in Spanish, this tapa originates from the south of Spain. Nowadays, you’ll find it in about every tapas bar in Spain. It’s usually served with lovely honey or darker cane syrup and a nice sprinkle of salt. A great sweet and salty dish!
Deep Frying with Olive Oil
Knowing the common eggplants contain lots of water which makes them often saggy once cooked, the only way to make them relatively firm and crisp is by coating them in a light coat of flour and breadcrumbs and frying them up at high temperatures. An essential element to deep frying the eggplant successfully is ensuring the oil is hot enough; this way, it won’t get absorbed and saggy.
Also, be careful not to add too many pieces simultaneously; you’ll end up cooling the olive oil and finish with sad greasy and soft eggplant fries. So make sure to keep the temperature of the oil between 180-190°C (300-350F°). This way, the eggplant won’t absorb much oil and will get the top layer of the fries crisp.
Yes! Olive Oil for Deep Frying!
Oh! And if you are skeptical about deep-frying with olive oil, don’t be! Olive oil is one of the most stable and resistant to long cooking periods; it loses less volatile compounds than most oils and doesn’t alter the taste of anything, as many believe. It loses its flavour with the heat. It’s the base of Spanish gastronomy; they also use it for everything from salad dressing, marinating, cooking, and deep frying! Spaniards are second on the list of countries where people live the longest… so they must do something right. If you don’t reach the smoke point over 190°C (350F°), it’s perfectly safe, if not better than any other oil.
Also, if you want to preserve the olive oil used for frying later on, filter the cooled-down oil into a coffee filter and voila! Conserve it in a cool, dark place. You’ll be able to reuse it a few times.
Some people find eggplant has a bitter taste, but I’ve never had a problem with bitterness. This unpleasant taste is mostly happening when the eggplant is too mature. Do not worry… there is a way to fix this problem. Soaking them in a salty bath for 30 minutes before you cook them will eliminate the bitterness. This step also gives an extra taste to the eggplant, but if you do not feel like waiting for an additional 30 minutes, omit this step and go right to the deep frying.
Honey or Cane Sirup
This tapa is often served with a darker, thicker syrup made out of cane sugar (molasse), it’s not actual honey, but they still call the dish “eggplants with honey”… But for this particular recipe, I brought out my top-notch honey and drizzled it over the eggplants with a sprinkle of salt. There is nothing like an excellent sweet and salty combination!
Serving with Other Tapas
You can serve these as tapas with a lovely beer, wine, o vermouth. Here are a few other tapas that could go well with this:
So let’s make some tapas!
Fried Eggplant with Honey
- 2 eggplants
- 3 tbsp flour
- 3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 1 l olive oil
- honey (to taste)
- coarse salt
- Start by cutting the eggplant into thick (1cm) sticks (with the skin) and let it soak in salty (2 tbsp salt per litre) water for 30 minutes (add a plate over to immerse them altogether).
- In a deep enough pan, heat the litre of olive oil and heat it to 180°C to 190°C (350°F to 370°F) degrees.
- Pat dry the eggplant sticks with a paper towel.
- Add the eggplant, flour and bread crumbs in a big bowl, and cover and shake the fries to cover them up.
- Check the temperature of the oil with a thermometer, or drop one fry in to see if it get fizzy.
- Add a few eggplant sticks at a time, not to cool down the oil and let it fry for about 3 to 4 minutes until golden and crisp.
- Take out the fries with a slotted spoon, sprinkle a little (fleur de sel) salt on them and reserve them on a paper towel while you cook another batch.
- Just before serving, drizzle with good quality honey.
Beautifully demonstrated! Loved it!
Zucchini and eggplants are probably the best vegetables to fry (and potatoes of course), always delicious!
Double yum, here! We adore eggplant, and there are never enough ways to prepare it! Thank you for a great tapas idea!
Glad you guys like it!
I am not a big eggplant fan, but I have to admit those look quite delicious. This is a great post to read. Took me back to Spain and all the wonderful Tapas bars I used to enjoy as a student. Thank you.
my pleasure! 😉
I *never* would have thought to turn eggplant into fries. What a great idea! I bet they are wonderful with the honey – sweet & salty + crunchy is basically the ultimate combination.
Oh yummy! I’m going to be looking out for these on the menu when I go to Spain next week
Enjoy your trip in sunny Spain!
This may be just what I need to start eating eggplant! I don’t like traditional dishes (eggplant parm etc) but this sounds so yummy I have to give it a try. And the Honey sounds like quite the lovely addition.
It might change your mind about eggplants! Enjoy!
Isn’t it strange eggplant is a love it or hate it food. It wasn’t until the last few years I have really started experimenting with eggplant. These look great. It is on my LOVE IT list.
Yes I agree, eggplants is a love it or hate it veggie. But I hope I can switch a few guys on the love side with those fries;)
Wow! This is amazing! I love a good salty sweet combo and I love fried eggplant. What a delicacy!
A spanish classic;)
I’ve never had eggplant fries, but now I need to try them! They look delectable and I love the sweet and salty combo.
I love this idea. We get loads of eggplant in our farm share and I’m always looking for new ways to use it. I tend to get lazy and just throw it on the grill. I love the drizzle of sweet honey at the end.
Glad you like it
This sounds so good, and I don’t really like eggplant! haha I love the addition of good honey. Yummy!
Believe me… this could change your mind about eggplants;)
This looks right up my alley. So much eggplant in the summer and I never know what to do with it!
How delicious, I love the idea of sweet & salty aubergine with a crunch. I like how you use olive oil for frying them, I’ve always steered clear of using it for deep frying for fear of burning it, will have a go now after reading your post.
I totally agree with your points on olive oil and love your tips on deep frying aubergine. I have to try this.
Olive oil is super stable at high heat and doesn’t deteriorate like any other oil types. Only thing is to keep it below 190°C. Enjoy!
I love eggplant in every way, and these fries look terrific!
Oh yum! This sounds so interesting and they look amazing! I bet the flavors are out of this world.
Great flavor for sure!
I’ve never been a huge fan of eggplant but I would totally give these a shot!
These will make you change idea about them! Guaranteed!
This sounds so different from the deep fried eggplants in the Indian style. I must try it when I’m in Spain next weekend.
I bet it’s great too the Indian style! Going to check it out!
Nice post… In India we eat it in a little spicy way… by deep frying then putting salt, turmeric, red chilly, dry mango powder and dry coriander powder… it tastes yumm will try your recipe too…
That Indian version sounds dreamy! I’ll try it out next time! although mango powder I might have trouble finding it.
Let me know how it tasted… just add less
I’m going to dehydrate a mango tonight… maybe next week I’ll try it and let you know;)
Oh my! This looks like one of those appetizers that you can keep eating and eating until you forget to eat the main thing :. So moreish!
Oh my goodness, I just love the idea of these eggplant fries! I am definitely trying them out soon!
I’ve never heard of eggplant fries before! It sounds delicious and I’m so glad I found your post. I love cooking and Spanish cuisine so this seems like a great recipe to make 🙂
Simple dish! But tasty one!