I eventually remembered to contact my friend in Spain, whose brother gave me some approximates, and then I found an actual Spanish recipe online, which I translated a bit, and experimented some with. This is the closest I’ve come to that magical dish I had once, ten years ago in 2001. It is probably not exactly like the one at the restaurant, but it’s really good anyway. (Updated with new photos Sep. 2011)
Ingredients for Beer Batter:
1 1/4 cups white flour
1/2 – 3/4 bottle of beer – enough to make the batter the consistency of pancake batter. (*I used Alaskan Summer, and find that amber beer lends the most caramel-like flavor to the batter * )
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp paprika
1 clove minced garlic
Salt and pepper (a pinch of each)
Ingredients for Egg-dip:
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
Bowl of white flour for dredging
1 large Eggplant, thinly sliced (which makes bigger discs) or two narrow Asian-style eggplants
Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice the eggplant. Each disc should be no more than 1/3” in thickness.
Spread the discs out on a large cookie sheet, and salt both sides. Let the salted eggplant sit for about 30 minutes, and then rinse each disc well (you’ll see brown liquid forming on the eggplant as it’s drawing out bitterness and moisture.) Dry each slice of eggplant with a paper towel, before deep frying.
Whisk the egg dip in a small bowl, and soak each slice in the egg and milk mixture, and then dredge in flour, which helps hold the batter on the eggplant. If you skip this step, the batter will just slide off and end up in clumps in the hot oil. Lastly, dip it in batter until well coated, but not too thick. Let the excess drip off before you put it in hot oil.
The frying process takes a bit of time so I usually line up another cookie sheet with a couple of layers of paper towels next to my deep fryer to place each slice there … they can be kept hot in the oven at 250 degrees while you’re making the rest. They usually stay fairly hot even if you don’t put them in the oven, if you work fast, and orderly. If you don’t own a deep fryer, you can certainly cook them in a deep skillet with about an inch of canola or olive oil in it. Be sure to let the eggplant get golden brown on one side before flipping it over.
Serve hot with honey drizzled over the top. The honey really adds an extra element of amazing!