In November I spent two weeks sailing around Canary Islands. For me it was the first meeting with Canary Islands and living on boat. During the holidays I concentrated on practising sailing and panorama viewing. soo my culinary discovery wasn't very intense.
Before a trip my friend told me about Canarian food. She was excited about Canarian potatos and I was curious of their taste. First day of my trip when we were in small town Villaflor on Tenerife, I ordered Canarian potatos with mojo sauces. The potatos were very small with skin and boiled in sea water. The faint smile appeared on my face when I recalled that my uncle throws out potatos of thas size. But those potatos were very tasty and they were yellow inside. I loved them. I bought a couple kilos of potatos to eat them on the boat. Either we boiled them in sea water and served with mojo soauces and fish or we made them as tortilla. Both dishes are very easy to prepare especially on boat during sailing. Spanish tortilla is kind of omelette made of eggs, boiled potatos, roast onion and sometimes smoked meat. Canarians make tortilla for breakfast and it is served inside sandwich or as tapas or as a part of main dish during dinner.
Tortilla and Canarian potatos we can serve with mojo sauces. Mojo sauces originated on Canary Islands. The basic recipe consists of olive oil, large amount of garlic, paprika, and cumin. Flavorings such as vinegar, lemon, orange or lime juice may be added. Mojo sauce can be of three kinds: red, green and orange. On Tenerife I met only red and green. They are also commonly served with fresh bread rolls at the beginning of a meal and we can buy these sauces as ready to use or instant powder in all grocery shops on Canary Islands.
Canary Islands are famous by bananas although it is not country of their origin. Anyway they grow up very well there. Canarian banana is a special kind. They are smaller than South American bananas and taste more sweet but I was suprised by the price. Canarian bananas on Canary Islands are more expensive than others. Why? I don't know. These bananas are tasty especially as an addition to ice cream. Canarians make a lot of sweet dishes and beverages of bananas, my favorite is banana liqueur. It is very sweet and pleasant. I recommend having it very cold.
During my trip I tried two new fruits. One of them was Guava bought in Masca. Masca is a small village lost in mountains. We didn't understand street saler and we were suprised by price – 10 euro. I wondered – what is so special in those small fruits that makes them so expensive. Street saler saw our embarrassment and she repeated price and she showed two fingers. It was true price – 2 euro per 1 kilo guava. Gauava tasted nice, it was fresh and a little sour. Good for a hot day.
Second fruit was opuntia. Opuntia grows everywhere on Canry Islands. They are weed. I picked one wild fruit after my arrival but I couldn't open it. I had small spines in my fingers. After this experience I was searching for those fruits in shops, but opuntia isn't popular among Canarians and I bought it only on La Palma Island. I discovered new taste of opuntia, becouse I tried opuntia juice in Europe and it was too sweet. Opuntia isn't sweet, it is only a little sweet and sour, but nothing intresting. I made fruit salad with opuntia, banana, papaya, orange – it was a good mix.
Big suprise and new taste for me was goat's meat. I like milk or cheese of goat but I newer eat meat. So when I saw a dish with goat in menu I ordered. It was a steak from goat. The taste was different than I know from other kinds of meat, it is a little like a game. Steak was soft, a little fat, it was pleasant and peculiar. This taste remainded in my memory.
My first dish on Tenerife was really original. After arrival I was hungry and after my experience with opuntia I was very angry. I found the first open restaurant and ordered dish which was ready. It was starter “ Escaldon”. I gave plate with brawn pap with pieces of bacon and potatos. It didn't look attractive but I was so hungry. When I took chance and ate first bite I was surprised by the taste. It was very good. Escaldon taste a little like salty porridge made on the stock from a stew. Yes, this is my taste. Why my mother didn't give me Eskaldon instead of porridge when I was a child? Yes, Escaldon is made of the stock from a stew, bacon and gofio. Gofio is the Canarian name for flour made of roasted grains or other starchy plants. Gofio is thought to be the base of the diet of the Canaries. It is a highly versatile product which can be added to soups, stews, desserts, ice cream, sauces, and more. It is very rich in vitamins, proteins, fibre, and minerals.Gofio in Canary Islands is currently produced from cereals of several types , if you add a small amount to milk you prepare balance breakfast. It was favoured by Canarian mariners as it can be stored for long periods while retaining its goodness.
So when next time I 'll sail across the Atlantic, Gofio and Canarians potatos and mojo will be my basic ingredients in my galley.
Ahoy!!! See you on the sea.