Tapas! is what comes to mind when you visit the Canary Islands or any Spanish destination. What makes Canary Islands tapas special is its geographical location, climate & influence of migrants through the years. This has shaped the island’s food into something unique and very tasty!. Explore the main tapas which you should try during your visit to the islands.
Papas con Mojo – Boiled Potatoes with Mojo Sauce
Canary Islands are known for Papas con Mojo. It’s a dish which will be available in all canarian restaurants. Although its quite simple, it does have its trick and the sauce has to be good. The potatoes have to be boiled in 25% salt water so that their skin becomes wrinkly. As for the sauce, it will vary from Island to Island. For example, in La Palma, the mojo is drier and tangier, in Tenerife it’s more oily and in Gran Canaria it’s creamier.
Pimientos Padron – Salt Sautéd Padron Peppers
These peppers actually origin from Galicia, like the majority of dishes of the island. It seems there was in influx of Galicians back in the day. Padron peppers have a slight bitter taste when sautéed. Once they have semi-softned, they are sprinkled with sea salt and man they are delicious. These are a perfect complement to the rest of the tapas or a sweet drink like Sangria.
Queso Asado – Grilled Goats Cheese
If you are a cheese lover like me, this is a tapa you want to order. It’s basically a fresh slab of goats cheese which has been grilled on both sides. Depending on the restaurant, they will serve it with mojo on the side or on top. Some even add extra stuff like the one below is marinated in garlic and parsley, a true delicacy!
Gambas / Champiñones al Ajillo
Another famous Galician dish made into a Canarian tapa. You have the garlic prawns and the garlic mushrooms, both are prepared on the same manner and served in sizzling garlic infused oil! Make sure to dip some bread and enjoy the true garlicky flavours!
Croquetas caseras – Home Made Croquettes
When you order croquetas as a tapas, make sure to ask if they are homemade. If they are serving the frozen kind, avoid them as they will just taste of mush. The homemade ones, they will be offering a variety of mixes, spinach (favourite), chicken, fish or plain potato and ham!
I assume its called Russian salad based on the ingredients used, back during the WW2 times when food was scarce. Nothing easier than putting together a potato salad with basic ingredients. While it may be basic, its super tasty salad and because its served cold, it goes perfect with the hot canarian weather!
Pulpo Gallega / Vinagreta
As the name suggests, this one too hails from the mainland. You have two types of Octopus dishes, here. On the left you’ll see Pulpo a la vinagreta – a cold vinegrate salad with octopus that has been cooked – surprisingly refreshing and goes very well with carb style tapas. To the right, Pulpo a la gallega, you lay boiled potatoes, boiled octopus, sprinkle with paprika and drench in olive oil, a classic.
Literary translates to Party Meat. I think it’s the combo which everyone looks, fried meat & chips. It’s exactly that, pork meat fried with garlic and herbs & chips. Squeeze a lemon on top & this simple dish may be your next all-time favourite.
Lapas con Mojo
Lapas are limpets, they are found on sea rocks in the Canary Islands, and to be honest, it may be hard to come across these. You may have to leave the tourist towns to find these. By nature, they taste like mussels, sweat and savoury, these are cooked in garlic and topped with cilantro mojo sauce. When ready to eat them, squeeze a lemon and live life as it’s meant to be.
Tapas in the Canary Islands vary from zone to zone. The meaning of Tapa is a small entrée, so you could also be served a tapa of fish, meat etc, It’s not a specific dish per se. What makes the Canary Islands special is that the cuisine has an influx of foods from the mainland which were influenced by the invading forces during the medieval times. It also sees a great mix with Latin American culture, like the mojo and spicy kick to it.
I would recommend you get out there and try as much tapas as you can and ask around about their origins, you may be surprised!
Let us know in the comment section, if you have ever tried any, and which one is your favourite!