Papas arrugadas: el manjar de las Islas
A delicacy with a lot of history and a good reason to sigh for most of the Canarian palates. This basic ingredient, coming from America, made its entrance to the islands more than 400 years ago and, since then, has not stopped reinventing itself. While our grandparents have witnessed how potatoes – wrinkled or not – helped alleviate the periods of scarcity in the past, today we find a product that has received the highest praise from the world’s culinary elite.
During his last visit to the island of Tenerife, Ferrán Adrià defined the papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes) with mojo as “a masterpiece” and the Michelin Star restaurant in Tenerife, Nub, has been able to elaborate a truffle with Canary potato which result could not be more surprising. No wonder that, little by little, these have become authentic objects of desire, with exquisite and peculiar varieties, and sometimes, with unthinkable prices.
Tenerife and the potato
In the conversations that always arise in the traditional farmers’ markets, the local elderly always warn that no other island has potatoes like those grown on Tenerife. Lanzarote can boast of its corn, Fuerteventura of its cheese, Gran Canaria of its tomatoes, La Gomera of its palm honey… but only Tenerife has the natural conditions to offer such an exquisite variety of potatoes.
On the island we can currently find up to 29 types of genetically unique potatoes, which have also obtained their own Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) as ‘Papas Antiguas Canarias’. Their characteristic flavours and qualities have made them the only tubers in Spain to have obtained this degree of protection.
Among the best-known varieties are quinegua – a canarian adaptation of King Edward of England-, in honour to the king of England-, azucena, papa bonita or black potatoes. In spite of their particular characteristics, Canary Islands potatoes generally stand out for their soft texture and for having the right amount of sweetness, which makes them a fantastic garnish for almost any dish.
Papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes): the pleasure with seawater
Little is said today about the importance of salt as a method of conservation; for our grandparents it was essential. In the Canary Islands, a land historically linked to life near to the ocean, wrinkled potatoes were traditionally made from seawater. In this cooking process, the potato is able to absorb the amount of salt it needs, which gives its skin that peculiar wrinkled appearance and, of course, creates a perfect layer for transport and preservation.
It is a simple dish -according to Canarian gastronomy-, and almost a symbol of Canarian identity, just like sushi in Japan or tacos in Mexico. It is served with red and green mojo -the Canarian tradicional sauce- to accompany fish, meat or any other gastronomic proposal.
Among the delicious proposals at our Restaurant La Torre, the wrinkled potatoes are one of the most frequent companions for our exquisite dishes. This is an opportunity for guests of Hotel Suite Villa María to taste this delicacy, also prepared by Canarian chefs. We are sure you will not regret it!