Thinking about the island of Tenerife often evokes mental images of enchanting beaches, historical sites, and an exuberant natural landscape. But there’s one thing that unites all of its charming features: its gastronomy. Because we know that the owners and guests of the luxury villas and apartments of Abama Resort have a deep appreciation for the island’s culinary heritage, here are 6 dishes representing Tenerife gastronomy that showcase its flavorful contrasts.
Tenerifan food is characterized by its simplicity and the freshness of its ingredients, two aspects fundamental to turning the act of eating into a sensual experience. Tastes, textures, aromas, and colors come together to highlight the character of each of the ingredients cultivated with such care and dedication in this enigmatic archipelago. Here are some of our favorites:
Escaldón de Gofio
Gofio is one of the pillars of food in the Canary Islands. This toasted grain flour can be used in a diversity of ways, in both sweet and savory dishes. According to local history, the aboriginal Guanches employed gofio as a fundamental part of their diet, and its importance has kept it in continuous use to the present day.
The principal ingredients of this dish, aside from the gofio dough, are a good stock combined with vegetables and pieces of meat or fish. The secret of this recipe, they say, is the care with which it is prepared, and of course its accompaniments: papas arrugás, meat or cheese taquitos, diced vegetables…and whatever else you like.
To enjoy a good escaldón, we recommend that you find a guachinche, one of the number of great traditional family-run restaurants on the island where you can enjoy a good wine and a meal that feels home-cooked.
Papas arrugás with mojo picón
Arrugás potatoes are present in almost every meal because they are delicious and provide energy. This dish is one of the most popular of Tenerifan gastronomy and in order to prepare it you’ll have to get your hands on the variety of black potato native to this area.
The singularity of the dish, apart from the sauce made with pepper or cilantro, the mojo, is in the wrinkliness (“arrugao”) of the potatoes. This is achieved by putting the potatoes back in the pot, once cooked, but without water, to agitate them until they dry completely and the skin wrinkles.
For those who want a dish packed with energy, Canary Island Stew (Cocido Canario) is the ideal food, thanks to its nutritious vegetables and meat. Like other typical Spanish stews, in the Canarian you’ll often find beef, chicken, or pork, but unlike others, it also contains a variety of vegetables that we don’t find anywhere else in the country and that lend it a singular uniqueness. Simple but chock-full, these other ingredients, apart from the meat, can also include chickpeas, corn on the cob, cabbage, carrot, bubango (zucchini), pumpkin, yams, chayote, tomato, onion, potato, and beans.
Cocido can be eaten two ways: as a single dish or in three courses, that is, first as a pasta soup made with the stock, then the vegetables and chickpeas, and finally the stewed meat.
Grilled cheese with mojo
This dish demonstrates that the simplicity of Tenerifan gastronomy doesn’t imply an abandonment of intense flavor. The cheese featured in this dish is unique for its traditional preparation methods using milk from goats indigenous to the island of La Palma, and its balanced flavor that is slightly acidic but very pleasing to the palate.
The dish’s preparation is simple: the cheese is cut into strips and browned on the grill with a few drops of oil to intensify its flavors. Mojo is the perfect complement to round out this dish, and it can be made even more spectacular with a side of papas arrugás.
Though it may not be among the most well known of Canarian desserts, Quesillo can often be found on the menus and tables of the island of Tenerife. What’s unique about this dish is that cheese is not among its ingredients; its name derives from the fact that its porous surface is reminiscent of that of cheese.
This dessert is made from condensed milk that has a form and texture similar to egg custard, though its texture is more spongy and its flavor wholly different, thanks to the milk. When served, it’s customarily dribbled with palm honey, a honey extracted directly from the Canary Island palm tree.
Though also typical in Portugal and some Latin American countries, huevos moles is a traditional dessert that has been preserved in the Canary Islands’ gastronomy thanks to its sweet flavor, creamy texture and exquisite cinnamon aroma.
The dish is composed of egg yolk beaten together with syrup to achieve a smooth and frothy texture. Once on the table, it’s often sprinkled with ground cinnamon or, for the daring, a bit of gofio, making the flavor complete and delicious.
Though these six dishes from Tenerifan gastronomy may be those that clamor the loudest for attention, the residents of Abama, our luxury resort in Tenerife, will certainly be able to discover many more that are equally delicious. And for those of you that dare to try your hand at making them at home, write and share your experience with us, and don’t forget to send along a photo of your succulent achievement!