5 delicious dishes from the Canaries
The Canary Islands are synonymous with long days of Mediterranean sunshine and fun family attractions but did you know these Spanish isles also have a delicious cuisine all of their own? True Canarian food is a heady mixture of Spanish, North African and native ‘Guanche’ flavours.
Crispy skinned potatoes, spicy stews and beautifully fresh plates of fish are frequently on the menu at authentic restaurants everywhere from Tenerife to Gran Canaria, but which are the top dishes you should look out for on your Canary Island holiday?
It would be a crime to talk about Canary Island cuisine without mentioning a dish favoured by tourists and locals alike: papas arrugadas. Translated as ‘wrinkly potatoes’ and commonly associated with Tenerife, these delicious tats are boiled in salty water and then coated with sea salt which creates the wrinkled effect on their skin. This dish is often served with a choice of sauces: green mojo, which is an uncooked dressing made with garlic and herbs, and a paprika-infused red alternative known as mojo picon.
This warming stew often forms the main course of a Canarian meal but is sometimes used as a starter as well, with the broth being drained and served as soup. Puchero Canario features tender pork and beef, as well as pumpkin, sweetcorn (on the cob) and sweet potato. Seasoned with saffron and garlic, don’t leave without experiencing the fragrant aromas of a classic Canary Isle staple! Also look out for rabbit stew, or conejo, while you’re on Lanzarote and other islands.
Lapas con Mojo
Fresh fish is a staple of the Canary Island diet and you will find just-caught mackerel, tuna, and swordfish on Tenerife and Gran Canaria menus, amongst many other deep-sea specialities. However, if you try just one seafood dish while on holiday to the Canary Islands, make it lapas con mojo, a dish of hot, griddled limpets, served in a white wine sauce with cumin.
The goat’s cheese produced in the Canary Isles isn’t just any variety you can find on the supermarket shelves. For a start, different islands make varieties which have subtle differences in taste: for one example, Majorero Cheese from Fuerteventura carries the flavour of majoram herb which the goats of the island graze on. Tiny island El Hierro, off the coast of Tenerife, produces a spicy variant called queso herreño, smoked and laced with paprika. Whichever Canary Island beach you land on, make sure you sample the local cheeses of the island!
Many people don’t realise that a large portion of Europe’s banana imports actually come from the warm climes of the Canary Islands. So it’s no surprise that one of the most widely-loved desserts in the islands is platanos fritos, or banana fritters. Served with ice cream and topped with sugar, lemon juice and a splash of brandy, these sweet treats make the perfect end to an alfresco meal in the sun. If you want to take the banana flavours of the islands home with you, you could also invest in some banana liqueur – tasty!
Don’t forget, the Canary Islands is also home to over ten wine demarcations, and the volcanic vine fields of Tenerife and Lanzarote famously produce fruity reds and fine whites for you to sample!
Traditional food and drink certainly deserves to form a large part of your Canary Island holiday, so try and seek out these tempting dishes in between all those boat trips and waterslides…