Eggplant Fries with Honey is a fairly common tapas in Spain. Nice crunchy eggplants sticks deep fried in olive oil and finished up with a sprinkle of salt and good quality honey.
Ever wondered about nice authentic vegetarian tapas ? This crunchy Eggplant topped with honey tapa is what you are looking for! Called Berenjena con miel in Spanish this tapas originates from the south of Spain although nowadays you’ll find it in about every tapas bar in Spain. It’s usually served with a nice honey or a darker molasse (cane syrup) and a nice sprinkle of salt. A great sweet and salty dish!
Golden rule of deep frying
Knowing the common eggplants contains 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 flour and breadcrumb layer and fry them up at high temperature. An important element to deep fry successfully the eggplant is to assure yourself the oil is hot enough, this way it won’t get absorb the oil and get saggy. Also be careful not to add too many pieces at the same time you’ll end up cooling the olive oil and finish up with sad greasy and soft 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 just get the top layer of the fries crisp.
Oh! and if you are one of those sceptic 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 like many believe. Without saying, it’s the base of Spanish gastronomy, it’s everywhere and they are second on the list of country where people live the longest… just saying. They fry and deep fry everything in olive oil in Spain so olive oil must not be that bad… As long as you don’t reach the smoke point over 190°C (350F) it’s perfectly safe if not better than any other oil.
Some people found eggplant have a bitter taste but personally 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 this purple vegetable is the way to eliminate the unwelcomed bitterness. This step is also giving an extra taste to the eggplant but if you do not feel like waiting for an extra 30 minutes, just omit this step and go right to the deep frying.
Honey or Cane syrup
This tapa in Spain is often served with a darker thicker syrup made out of cane sugar (molasse), it’s not an 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 a nice sweet and salty combination!
So let’s get those fries going!
Eggplant Fries with Honey
Makes 4-6 tapas portions | Preparation: 45 minutes | Difficulty: easy
- 2 big eggplants
- 3 tbsp of flour
- 3 tbsp of breadcrumbs
- honey (as much as you like)
- olive oil
- salt (fleur de sel)
- Start by cutting the eggplant into thick (1cm) sticks (with the skin) and let it soak in salty (2tbsp salt) water for 30 minutes (add a plate over to immerse them completely)
- Heat up a good amount of olive oil to soak the fries completely in a deep enough pan and heat it up to 180°C to 190°C (350°F to 370°F) degrees
- Pat dry the eggplants sticks with a paper towel and add to a bowl
- Add the flour and bread crumbs to the bowl containing the fries, cover and shake the fries to cover them up with the mix
- Add a fry to test the heat, it need to make lots of bubble right away or check the temperature with a thermometer
- Add a few eggplant at the time not to cool down the oil, (don’t over fill) 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 on a paper towel while you cook an other batch
- Just before serving, add a good quality honey or molasses on top.