Happy Mardi Gras everyone! Now that 3 sleepless weeks of funk are out of my system, I am ready to bring you another one of Congreso Cubano’s hit recipes. Today, we’ll be making a jazzed-up take on a classic Andalusian snack, fried eggplant served with honey or molasses. Today, we’ll be making a jazzed-up take on a classic Andalusian snack, fried eggplant, served with honey or molasses.
BERENJENAS FRITAS CON MIEL
FRIED EGGPLANT CHIPS WITH HONEY
Serves: 4-6 Prep Time: 45-60 min
This snack, though a bit time-consuming, is very easy to make. Once you’ve rinsed your eggplant, remove the ends and slice the remaining eggplant lengthwise into 4 equal spears. Now go ahead and chop each spear down into 1/8 – 1/4 inch wide triangle-shaped chips. In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup of salt and enough water to submerge your eggplant chips. Go ahead and submerge your eggplant chips in the brine for 20 – 30 minutes. Feel free to weigh them down with something as they will tend to float.
While your eggplant soaks prepare your batter. To do this, in a bowl, whisk together 2 cups of flour, 3 cups of beer, the remaining salt, cumin, and black pepper. You want this to be pretty wet and if you’re someone who prefers an airy, tempura-like texture, use very cold beer and wait till you’re ready to fry to do this.
Once your chips have been soaking for 20 – 30 minutes strain them and lay them out on some paper towel to dry for a few minutes. While these dry, add olive oil to a fry pot or medium-sized pan until it is at least 1/2 an inch deep. We want the oil to cover the eggplant chips. Heat this pan to about 370 degrees (medium- high on most gas ranges).
Add your remaining cup of flour to a small bowl and season it with a pinch of salt and paprika. Lightly toss a handful of chips at a time in the flour and transfer them into the batter. Once thoroughly covered, remove them from the batter, letting any excess drip off, and individually place them in your hot oil.
Once the batter starts taking color, about a minute into frying, go ahead and flip your chips. After 2 – 3 minutes in the oil, your eggplant should have a golden shell on them. At this point, you can toss them in a paper towel lined bowl to soak up any excess oil. Repeat the process with your remaining eggplant until you’ve gone through it all.
Now you’re ready to serve! Find a nice platter or bowl and toss in all your chips. All that’s left to do is to glaze them in your favorite honey and dust them in your cheese. I also like to chop up some fresh parsley and add that for a little color. And, voila! You have yourself a cheap and beautiful classic with lots of room to experiment.
Once you’ve got the hang of the recipe try changing up the beer you use, playing with the spices in the batter, or altering your choice of cheese or honey. They key is to make sure you have firm eggplant and a light batter. Enjoy!