Last week we covered the first course of a meal in the ‘real’ Tenerife. Today we will look at the main course.
Just like the other Canary Islands, the waters around Tenerife are rich with fish, a paradise for lovers of seafood. In many coastal villages, fish is sold from stalls set up in the ports and some of the most popular varieties are vieja (sea bream), sardine, la caballa (mackerel), atún (tuna), cherne (grouper) and chocos (cuttlefish).
Cooking fish on the Island is anything but sophisticated; as a result, it is usually eaten fried. “Pescado de barquilla” a mixed platter is common and served simply with “mojo” (a traditional sauce made from red pepper or coriander) and “papas arrugadas”.
I can´t even look at anything with suckers and tentacles so find it hard to imagine that eating squid and octopus is the delight everyone swears it to be. However, everyone can´t be wrong so I have tried calamari, tossed in flour and deep-fried. They were ok, but I couldn´t eat a plateful. I am told small octopus are boiled then fried and are delicious and the large ones are sliced and cooked in the same way.
Canarian Fish Casserole One of the great seafood stews uses a variety of fish. What is surprising is that the Canary Islands don´t have a huge range of shellfish. I didn´t know until recently that although we see beautiful king-sized prawns on the menu in most restaurants and for sale in supermarkets, these are often imported.
Lapas (limpets) are in abundance though and are best enjoyed cooked in white wine with garlic and herbs.
This is more to my taste, the most widely use meats are pork, chicken, rabbit and goat. You can get lamb, which is reasonably price in restaurants but very expensive in supermarkets for cooking at home. I now get mine from the British Sausage and Burger Company who supply some of the best meat on the island.
Some of the more well-known traditional dishes are…
Ropa vieja, literally, ‘old clothes’ which is made from often left over chicken or beef with chickpeas and potato. It is thick and flavoursome although no two places use the same recipe. The link above is a tasty version that you will find in Guia de Isora.
Pork is the main ingredient in “carne de fiesta” (party meat) and extremely popular at romerias and fiestas. It is made from small cubes of pork that have been dipped in oil and fried.
Goat’s meat has a special place in the traditional foods of Tenerife and Carne de Cabra, a simple stew is rich and tasty. I don´t know any restaurants in the resorts who serve it but there are plenty in rural areas.
Most meals come with potatoes and the potato is to Canarian cooking what Mount Teide is to Tenerife. Whilst not the cheapest my favourite is the “papa negra” (black potato) with a yellow centre use for Papas Arrugadas as mention in the last food blog, one of the best-known Canarian dishes. You can’t leave the island without having tried them!
So that is the main course covered, next time we will look at something for those with a sweet tooth.