For some the highlight of their holiday is eating like a local. This used to mean getting out of the resorts, but of late, the trend to sample traditional food is spreading and there are now more restaurants than ever within the resorts for those who are feeling adventurous.
Unless you know what to expect on your plate, there can be some unexpected drawbacks and I’m no expert, I have made a few blunders. I therefore decided to write about a typical meal giving a few examples on what you might expect at each course. It was only as I set about the details that I realised what a humungous task it was going to be, so I have split the blog, like the meal into courses, and today will start with the starter.
While Canarian wrinkly potatoes with spicy mojo sauce is one of the tastiest and probably the most famous Canarian dish – what about gofio?
Every Canarian is brought up on the stuff. Few products can be used in sweet or savoury dishes, added to coffee or stews, even used as a bread substitute but whatever you do with it, in my opinion, the result is disgusting and can only be compared to eating wallpaper paste.
Canarian food is not the least bit exotic, not overly spicy but what does define it is the simplicity of the ingredients and their freshness.
Meals frequently start with a soup or potajes, most often made from seasonal vegetables plus chunky potatoes, and chickpeas, and can sometimes include meat such as cooked chicken or slivers of pork (left over from a main course).
A Tenerife staple and important contributor to the economy is the Canarian tomato. Fragrant, juicy, and delicious it is a key ingredient in many different recipes. What more could you want to start a memorable meal than good bread, good olive oil and tomatoes. Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Tenerife produces high quality cheeses that have won prizes in the most prestigious competitions around the world. They are considered a real part of Canarian gastronomy and often served as a starter called “queso asado”, Queso Frito – (Fried Cheese) or “queso a la plancha” (grilled cheese) usually accompanied by a sauce or jam.
You can also be served the classic Manchego with serrano or Iberico ham. Goat cheese is very popular and comes in varying degrees of ripeness, some benefit from the addition of paprika that gives a spicy taste, others as in “fresco”, are just a few days old, mild and slightly salty, others are smoked. Whatever your taste I suggest you experiment as you are sure to find one that hits the spot.
Personally, I haven’t had Papas Arrugadas or wrinkled potatoes as a STARTER, only as an accompaniment to the main, but for many this is the ultimate in authentic cuisine. These are served with mojo sauce, either red made with varying amounts of chilli or green based on coriander or parsley. You won’t find a restaurant in Tenerife that does not have them on its tables.
So that’s the first course of the meal covered. I have always wanted to be able to serialise an article, so I hope you pick up next week’s copy to read Part II when we will check out seafood and meat for the main course.