Those Berenjenas Fritas at El Olivo in Córdoba

Another great tapa especially popular in Andalucía are berenjenas fritas or fried eggplants. The dish has Arabic origins and is famously prepared in the province of Malaga, where it is served with miel de caña (sugar cane honey). The eggplant is soaked in water, then dried, coated in a batter made of garbanzo bean flour, egg whites and beer and then deep-fried in olive oil. The eggplants are either served as strips similar in appearance to french fries or as round chips.

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We had them with beers at El Olivo restaurant, right by the ancient walls of the city´s historical district, a beautiful location that gave that little terrace a kind of a magical vibe. It was a place with deep sentimental value to my boyfriend, who was a frequent customer there 11 years ago when he spent a semester studying abroad in this gorgeous little city. He´d go there often with friends for a drink or two or three, and swore to me by their delicious beer-side snacks.

4The strips of eggplant were wonderfully crispy, though I think these were made with breadcrumbs rather than flour because they had a coarse, grainy texture that scratched my tongue pleasantly. The veggies were very tender, some thicker, some thinner than others, and their slightly sweet vegetal flavor dominated, enhanced but not overshadowed by the taste of the frying oil. I had to add a bit of salt because the dish was mostly unseasoned and I was missing the cane honey that is traditionally used to flavor it. Either way, it went very well with our Cruzcampos and the salt eventually brought out the delicate flavors of the eggplant even more, allowing them to shine through completely.

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