Sunday, July 1, 2018


In my book, TAPAS—A BITE OF SPAIN (Santana Books, 2008), I have a whole chapter devoted to fritos, tapas from the frying pan. I've very nearly worked my way through the 24 recipes for fried foods in this blog—with three just in the past few weeks.

Fried foods are the irresistible stars of many tapa bars. They appeal to all the senses, go with every drink. Genuine crowd pleasers, fried foods are worth adding to your tapas repertory. So, here’s one more before I turn my attention to gazpacho and salads.

These are rolls of thinly sliced eggplant wrapped around jumbo shrimp. Fasten the rolls with toothpicks, dip them in egg and breadcrumbs and pan fry them until golden. Crisp on the outside, the eggplant makes a creamy layer encasing the shrimp. These savory tidbits are good with a sauce such as piquillo pepper sauce or garlic mayonnaise with saffron. Serve them as finger foods at a drinks party or as a starter.

Crispy rolls of eggplant wrapped around jumbo .shrimp, with piquillo pepper sauce for dipping.

Serve the rolls as finger food or, plated, as a starter.

In the pink--bubbly vino rosado, either cava or vino de aguja, is perfect with summer tapas.

Rollitos de Berenjena y Langostinos
Eggplant and Shrimp Rollups

Salting and draining the eggplant slices softens them so it's easy to roll them around the shrimp.

Don't let the oil get too hot when frying the rolls. You want to let the shrimp and eggplant cook through in the time it takes to brown the outside of the rolls.

Makes 12 tapas or 4 starters.

1 large eggplant, about 16 ounces
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
Pinch of oregano
Olive oil for frying
Dipping sauce, to serve (optional)

Place shrimp on eggplant slice and roll it up.

Cut off and discard the eggplant stem. Slice the eggplant lengthwise very thinly (1/8 inch), discarding 2 outer slices with skin. You should have 12 slices. Place the slices in a colander and sprinkle liberally with salt. Allow to stand for 45 minutes.

Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels. Place a shrimp across the wide end of a slice and roll up the eggplant around the prawn. Fasten the roll with a toothpick.

Rolls fastened with picks are ready to be breaded and fried.

Ready for frying in hot olive oil.

Fry the rolls slowly so the shrimp cook in the time it takes for the exterior to brown.

When all the slices are rolled, dip them, one by one, into beaten egg, then roll them in bread crumbs combined with salt and oregano. Place on a tray in a single layer. (The rolls can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance and kept, refrigerated.)

Add oil to a frying pan to a depth of at least ¼ inch. Heat the oil on medium heat until it is shimmering, but not smoking. Fry the rolls, a few at a time, until they are browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Salsa de Pimientos Piquillos
Piquillo Red Pepper Sauce

Piquillo pepper sauce goes with fried and grilled foods.

This is a sensational dipping sauce or a dressing for vegetables or prawns. And it’s ever so simple. The flavor comes from those special peppers, tiny red piquillos from Navarra, that are sweet and piquant at the same time. They are roasted, peeled and packed in tins. All you have to do is open the tin or jar, put the piquillos in a blender with some olive oil. How hard is that? You can add a pinch of thyme or cumin or chopped chile, if you like it “hot. If you want a warm sauce to serve with hot foods, just heat the sauce gently in a small saucepan.

1 can piquillo peppers, drained (about 10 peppers)
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt

Combine the peppers, garlic, oil, vinegar and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend to make a smooth purée. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, up to one week.

To order TAPAS--A BITE OF SPAIN from Amazon España.

More recipes for fried tapas:
Mushroom, Cheese, Ham Croquettes.
Cheese Puffs (Buñuelos).
Marinated Fried Fish (Adobo).
Málaga Mixed Fish Fry.
Batter-Fried Shrimp (en Gabardinas).
Spinach Fritters.
Cod Fritters with Molasses.
Crispy Fried Chicken Wings.
Flouncy Fried Pork Rolls (Flamenquines).
Fried Ham and Cheese Sandwiches (Emparedados)
Fried Potatoes with Spicy Sauce (Bravas).
"Land Fish" (Fried Eggplant, Asparagus, Beans)
Stuffed and Fried Chard Stems.

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