Fried food is wildly popular in Spain. It’s the reason why most kitchens have an extractor fan above the hob. And once the summer arrives, it’s more popular than ever – those intense flavours are perfect for enjoying in the open air with a chilled glass of Lanzarote wine.
Here are three Spanish recipes that will help you master the art of the Spanish fry.
PIMIENTOS DE PADRÓN
A simple and devastatingly effective Spanish tapas.
– 20 pimientos de padrón (these are the smallish green peppers you’ll see in most local supermarkets. Look for the freshest ones you can, firm with unwrinkled skin).
– Coarse sea salt (or even better flor de sal flakes).
– Olive oil (enough to fill a smallish frying pan to a finger’s depth).
Wash the peppers and dry them well. Heat the olive oil to medium heat in a small frying pan, then add the peppers. Fry, turning frequently, until their skins start to blister and brown.
Drain on kitchen paper and serve immediately, sprinkled with salt.
FRIED AUBERGINES WITH HONEY
This spectacular dish, which combines salty and sweet flavours and a satisfying crunch, comes from Andalusia and has distinctly Arabian roots.
– 2 fresh aubergines
– 100 gms flour
– 500 mls carbonated water (Sparkling water seems to improve the crunchiness)
– Cane honey (miel de caña is what is used in Spain, but molasses or treacle is fine, too. Even runny honey works)
Slice the aubergines – you can do this two ways, either in medallions about 1 cm thick, or sticks of the same width. Soak the aubergines in carbonated water for 30-40 minutes, remove and pat dry.
Sift the flour, add a half tspn of salt, dip each aubergine piece until it’s covered in flour and fry until golden (don’t cook too many at once, or the temperature of the oil will fall).
Remove to kitchen paper, add salt and serve immediately, with cane honey drizzled on top.
FRIED EGGS SPANISH-STYLE
Spanish fried eggs are slightly different to the ones you’ll find in a British fry-up. They’re fried in more oil, meaning they’re not as flat, the yolk is usually runny, and they’re rarely cooked ”over easy” (on both sides). Many Spaniards also enjoy the crisp, slightly browned edges of a fried egg, and call this con puntilla (with lace).
Fried eggs are eaten hundreds of ways – on their own with bread, placed on top of a bed of rice and served with heated tomate frito (a tomato sauce available in all Spanish supermarkets), or served on top of fried potatoes and shreds of jamón for huevos rotos.
As Spaniards tend to use more oil for frying, they often filter it with a small strainer and store it to re-use up to four or five times. If you do this, keep any strongly flavoured oils (from fish, garlic etc) separately in sealed, labelled jars.
– Non-stick frying pan (size depends on how many eggs you wish to prepare at a time – an 18 cms pan is fine for one or two eggs)
– A slotted spoon or fish fryer (in Spain, special flat ladles with holes are sold specifically for eggs)
– A small bowl
– Olive oil
– Large, fresh free-range eggs
Fill the pan with oil to a depth of just under one finger’s width and heat it until a breadcrumb starts to “dance” and turn brown. Crack the egg into a small bowl, then slide it into the hot oil. If you want the lacy edge, rapidly use the spoon to bathe the edges of the egg with hot oil (avoiding the yolk). Lift the egg out once it is cooked.
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