The Canarian Potato – Doctors and scientists agree that Mediterranean food is very healthy, it is even one of the healthiest in the world. Moreover, this local gastronomy is one with enormous wealth and variety. Geographically we can not count the Canarian archipelago as a Mediterranean region, yet culinary influences have entered the Iberian Peninsula. Even more, a third dimension was added to the recipe of Canarian food, namely the African one.
Three food products have been used for centuries on the Canary Islands. Out of necessity, because in addition to hunting and fishing, the local agriculture and horticulture made for a nutritious addition: the potatoes, gofio and the mojo sauces.
In the Canary Islands, potato cultivation started in the 17th century. In 1618 Sir Walter Raleigh brought the potatoes from England to Spain and from there it was a long wait for a small (!) Step to bring these vegetables to the eternal sunny islands.
Just like in Latin America the potatoes are called papas, while they are called patatas on the Spanish mainland.
The Canarian potato are wrinkled potatoes with a thick skin that are boiled in water with a lot of salt and then are again evaporated with extra coarse salt. The most suitable for this are the small types of ‘fries’, such as the papa negra from Tenerife, the bonita from Gran Canaria and the pink potatoes called ojitos. The dish was born out of necessity, like so many other dishes. In the absence of fresh water, the Guanches cooked their potatoes in seawater. Today the potatoes are cooked in tap water. They are at their best when you eat them with a mojo sauce. The locals eat the potatoes with the skin, many tourists rid the potato of its crust before eating them, but believe us, it is better with the skin!
This article was first published by Guy Devos on www.tenerifeconnect.be in Dutch and has been slightly modified.