Food & cuisine from the Canary Islands
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Canary Island cuisine reflects Spanish, Portuguese, and North African influence.
The cuisine of the so called Fortunate Island has ancient roots where the cooking is influenced not only by the Peninsula but also by the native race of the Guanches.
Gofio bread with honey and almonds
Among the oldest recipes handed down from the Guanches is el gofio. It is made with wheat, flour, barley, maize or chickpeas which are roasted and then mixed with water or milk until a ball is formed. It can be eaten either hot or cold and is still used today as the basis for many local dishes such as gofio with honey and almonds (Right).
Native confectionery is multifarious and abundant: lemon bread, banana cake, yam with honey, tirijaras and turron de gofio as well as potaje de jaramago, a typical plant of the islands, which resembles turnip tops.
The Canary Islands with its sub tropical climate is ideal for fruit and vegetables to be cultivated and inland there are extensive banana plantations. The variety grown in the canaries is the dwarf banana and it is the Islands second most important product after tourism. In recent years local farmers have however begun to diversify into other crops. These include exotic fruits such as avocado, mango, papaya, kiwi, passion fruit and pineapple.
Sugar cane is also cultivated and exotic vegetables like chayote, a pear shaped vegetable that tastes like a marrow.
Typical food from the Canary Islands
One thing that stands out as being typically Canarian is Mojo sauce. 'Salsa Mojo' - comes in two basic types: red and green.
The red goes well with potatoes while the green goes very well with fish. They are made from vinegar, a lot of garlic, oil and then flavoured with red or green peppers. It is perhaps the most typical recipe of the Canary cuisine because it is used so in so many local dishes.
Another typical Canarian dish is El Escaldon - las papas arrugadas
Quite simply potatoes boiled in their jackets and served with one of the mojo varieties, possibly preceded by a salad including bananas, coriander leaves and avocado, as well as the usual tomatoes and green salad