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Spanish Fried Eggplant with Molasses and Rosemary is a delicious, easy appetizer (tapas) to enjoy in the summer sunshine.

Spanish fried eggplantFried eggplant with molasses – or honey – is a simple but stunning tapas dish served all across Andalusia, in southern Spain. We have enjoyed it many times, both in Spain and at home. The sweetly-savory crisped disks of soft cooked eggplant are irresistible. But I never thought to bring it to Food To Glow. Because, you know, frying.

I’ve decided, however, that there are enough adamantly healthy recipes on here that I can get away with bringing you this only healthy-ish one. Spanish eggplant tapas dishBerenjenas fritas miel de caña, to give it its Spanish name, is quite simply the best tapas. Please don’t argue with me. I know I’m right. 🙂 Freshly fried and dripping with honey or molasses, crisped yet soft, and with a shower of crunchy salt. It doesn’t get much better. Add a glass of chilled fino sherry and a setting sun and I’d say things are just about perfect.

In this post I will tell you about the flours I used in creating this recipe, as well as of course how to make it. Let me know if you fancy trying this more-ish little nibble.

Three flours. Three different results.

On the way to “perfecting” (I really use that term advisedly) my Spanish fried eggplant recipe I tried a few coating ingredients.

eggplant slices coated in different flours

top: flour; left: cornmeal; right: almond flour

Plain flour is traditional, but I also pressed the eggplant slices into slighty-nubbly almond flour and into fine, golden cornmeal (affiliate link). As you will see in the images, various flours turned out various ways.

The almond flour was a finicky “sticker” with a tendency to burn in patches. At least when given the same amount of attention (ie negligible – I’m not a great multi-tasker) as the others. Wheat flour, as expected – and what I usually use – was great. It adhered well and fried evenly. But I love the extra texture that cornmeal gives. It more readily adhered than the almond, but less well than the flour. I kept the same temperature throughout, so I’m willing to bet that turning down the temperature for the almond flour would help it not to burn.jar of yellow cornmeal on concrete background with wooden spoon

I am also very impatient, so I know that if I slowed down the almond flour might well have turned out just as good as the cornmeal ones. If you are not wanting to use any grains then almond flour would be fine. It gave a good flavour. I’m fairly certain, however, that an abuela would not be so happy with this choice. Perhaps not even the cornmeal.

close up of fried cornmeal eggplantHow to make Spanish fried eggplant

First of all select young, firm eggplants to help reduce any chance that they contain bitter seeds. Slice them into rounds and soak in milk – I use almond milk. The soaking lessens any bitterness and helps keep the eggplant from absorbing quite as much oil. And of course helps the flour to stick.

Once soaked you shake off the excess milk and either toss or press the eggplant into cornmeal – or other flour of choice. Feel free to try this with a gluten-free flour blend, or perhaps the flour of one of the ancient grains, such as khorasan. Then you heat olive oil in a good skillet – an enameled cast iron skillet (affiliate link) is your best bet for even frying. I add a couple of sprigs of rosemary to flavour the oil. If you do this, remove them before the oil gets hot and burns the leaves. frying eggplant slices in a cast iron skillet

Add the coated slices in batches, keeping enough room around each slice to flip them. Once browned on the bottom, flip and add colour to the other side. Drain on kitchen paper, carrying on until all slices are golden and crisped. Fried golden eggplant slices on paper towelTo serve pop them all onto a serving plate, sprinkling over flaky salt and rosemary and finally drizzling well with the molasses (affiliate link) or honey.Spanish molasses bottle with rosemary and salt on grey plate

partial view of Spanish fried eggplant and vintage forkVariations to try

Other than changing the flour, why not consider flavouring with the tiny leaves from lemon thyme, or with a sprinkle of lemony-tart sumac? Instead of rosemary I sometimes stud the fried eggplant slices with fruity-hot pink peppercorns. The taste of the latter not only gives a pop of complementing flavour, but gives a gorgeous pop of colour to an otherwise beigey-brown dish.

More tapas please:  The Spruce Eats has a great list of vegetarian tapas recipes to try.

Have you ever had Spanish fried eggplant in Spain? Have you tried making it at home? What other tapas dishes do you like?

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plus, more in my Recipe Index!

Whether on PinterestInstagramFacebookTwitter or of course here on the blog, I love to see what you do with my recipes, and I welcome your comments, star ratings, tweaks and suggestions on my Spanish Fried Eggplant, and any of my other 600+ recipes. 

**Also, if you’ve made/intend to make this recipe, please do consider rating it as it will make this recipe more visible on search engines. To do so, click the appropriate star underneath the small photo on the recipe card, below. Thank you so much!**side angle view of fried eggplant on platter with molasses drizzle and salt

plate of fried eggplant slices with molasses drizzle and rosemary
5 from 2 votes
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Fried Spanish Eggplant with Molasses and Rosemary (Berenjenas Fritas)

Rounds of eggplants, dipped in cornmeal or flour, fried until crisp yet soft then drizzled with dark molasses. It's a classic Spanish appetizer, and extremely delicious!

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine Spanish, vegan
Keyword eggplant
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Soaking Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 463 kcal
Author kellie anderson

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant or two smaller ones
  • 300 ml milk of choice I use almond milk
  • 120 g cornmeal maize meal/fine polenta
  • 120 ml olive oil you may require less
  • 3 sprigs rosemary divided use; leaves of 1 sprig minced
  • 3 tbsp best quality molasses miel de caña is preferred
  • Flaky salt

Instructions

  1. Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. No need to get out the ruler though. Place them in a bag or shallow dish and pour over the milk. Leave to soak for half an hour. This draws out any bitterness but also helps the eggplant soak up less oil.

  2. In a large enameled cast-iron skillet, heat about 1/3 inch of oil over a medium-high heat. Add one or two sprigs of rosemary for the first minute of heating, then remove them. This helps to flavour the oil. The oil is ready to fry when a flick of the cornmeal sizzles. On a plate, spread some of the cornmeal. Remove the eggplant from the milk, shaking off 
any excess liquid. Dredge in the cornmeal, pressing it to coat. Working in batches, fry the eggplant, turning a few times, 
until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer the eggplant 
to a paper towel–lined baking sheet or plate and season with flaky salt. 

  3. When all of the eggplant rounds are cooked and crispy, place them on a serving plate and drizzle with the molasses/ miel de caña and sprinkle over chopped rosemary.

Recipe Notes

The nutritional values will include the milk that is mostly removed before frying. It also doesn't include added salt as that will be up to you how much to add.

 

Miel de caña - sugar cane honey - is a deep brown syrup with a slightly sharp savory-sweet taste. Of course use ordinary molasses - and indeed good honey - but get the Spanish version if you see it. It is a relatively unrefined sweetener (only evaporation to process it) used to top sweet flans, in biscuits (cookies) and is ridiculously good drizzled over popcorn.

 

I tried several flours to make these fried eggplants - cornmeal, plain flour and almond flour. The almond tended to burn quite quickly and didn't readily adhere to the slices. Flour worked very well - and is the most common coating. But we really like the extra texture from the cornmeal. In the UK it can be easier to buy fine polenta. It is pretty much the same product, but polenta is almost always a bit coarser, and yellow from yellow corn. Both cornmeal and polenta are made with dried corn.

Nutrition Facts
Fried Spanish Eggplant with Molasses and Rosemary (Berenjenas Fritas)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 463 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Sodium 107mg5%
Potassium 578mg17%
Carbohydrates 40g13%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 25IU1%
Vitamin C 2.6mg3%
Calcium 131mg13%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Spanish fried eggplant with molasses and salt. Vegan tapas dish.

11 thoughts on “Spanish Fried Eggplant with Molasses and Rosemary {Berenjenas Fritas}

  1. Sheree says:

    Sounds great. I’ll have to try this recipe.

  2. Mr A says:

    Your abuela would definitely approve! These are deliciously decadent bites of summer. Perfect

  3. Ooh how glorious! Love aubergine, love Andalusia, love sweet / savoury, golly, this sounds so good. Thanks Kellie another absolute cracker of a recipe!

  4. ksbeth says:

    this sounds lovely

  5. Shannon says:

    Oh, how I love the eggplant. My favorite is baked, but fried is a close second. Molasses and rosemary? Intriguing combo, Kellie!

    Happy summering.

    PS – sometimes the oil comes out here too, usually for falafel, best crisped on the outside, soft and moist on the inside which is only done with hot oil, I find.

  6. I make it a bit differently, Kellie, but I’ve never heard of soaking eggplant in milk – thank you for a great idea!

  7. Great post 🙂

  8. John Son says:

    Nice receipt!! Cool photo, very good author , thanks

  9. superfitbabe says:

    This fried eggplant looks splendid! I love using eggplant in any recipe, specifically ratatouille, chili, and curry. It’d be really nice to switch things up and make a yummy and innovative recipe with it!

  10. Islandyogini says:

    Your website is just gorgeous! Thank you for your amazing work and this recipe sounds so interesting. I will have to try it. Aloha from Maui!

  11. Rachel Anderson says:

    Scrumptious!

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