Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Berenjena Frita con Miel de Cana - Andalusian aubergines

The tapas selection in Andalusia (like everywhere else in Spain) is vast and varied. But what's particularly typical for the Andalusian treats is frying them in generous quantities of oil. And that we like.

People here are not quite as snobbish about the regional produce as they are in, say, Italy, but especially the regions of Cordoba, Sevilla and Granada are famous for their olive oil, in which the foods are fried. In our kitchen we, out of those hard-dying old habits usually use more neutral flavoured oils such as sunflower oil. Which one can, conveniently enough, lug back home in 5 litre canisters. I don't think I want to know what's going on in out arteries. And how long for...

Though they do say that he secret is making sure that the oil is hot. That way the food fried in it crisps without actually absorbing much oil. I still think "they" do not have a degree in cardiovascular diseases.

Another typical thing for the fried foods around here is drenching them in just flour instead of the whole four-egg wash- bread crumb- palaver. The method is known as a la andaluza. This produces delightfully crisp baby squid, fish... and aubergine.

Today the test kitchen attempted to recreate one of The Gentleman's favourites: Berenjena Frita con Miel de Cana, that Andalusian specialty mentioned in la Cala de Mijas post. This is the easiest and cheapest tapa there is. Here they are served with the dark and toasty local sugar cane honey or molasses, but feel free to use any honey you've got. Dark syrup or even maple syrup (or a mixture of that and honey) would probably make the best substitute.

Though frying brings out the natural sweetness in the aubergines so these babies are actually pretty damn tasty on their own too!

Serves 2

1 medium-sized aubergine (appr. 300 gr)
appr. 3 dl all-purpose flour
appr. 1 l oil for frying
honey or syrup for serving

Slice the aubergine to 1/3 cm thick slices. If you want sticks, cut thicker slices of approximately 1 cm thick. Place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle liberally with salt. Let them sweat for half an hour. Then turn over, sprinkle salt on the other side and leave to sweat for another half an hour.

Heat the oil in a pan. Wipe the liquid that's been coming out of the aubergines with kitchen towel so that the slices are dry. Cut the bigger slices in half. If making sticks, cut he slices to 1 cm slices.

Drench the slices in flour, one batch at a time. Shake off excess flour and drop into the oil. Don't overcrowd the pan so that the oil stays hot and the pieces get crisp. Fry for a couple of minutes until crisp and golden brown. Lift out of the oil with slotted spoon and let the oil drip out of the spoon back into the pan. 

Drain the slices on kitchen towel. Place them apart from each other so they remain crisp while you fry the remaining batches.

Serve with honey or syrup.

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