Take the Potato Challenge on Tenerife

Wed, September 16th, 2015 - By Jack Montgomery

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like potatoes. Notching up the different ways there is of eating potatoes on Tenerife should be a challenge that just about anyone would be willing to take on.

Why Potatoes?
Tenerife is famous for its potatoes. They’ve been grown on the island since they were first brought to Europe from the Americas. Basically, potatoes on Tenerife are as good as you’ll find anywhere. They come in all sizes and are prepared in many different ways.

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes
You can get roasties cooked from frozen and pre-packed boiled new potatoes in many a mediocre joint in some resort areas. They don’t count. We’re talking proper spuds, cooked from fresh and served to satisfy the local palate in Tinerfeño bars, cafés and restaurants.

Here’s a list of popular Tenerife potato dishes.

Papas locas, Candelaria, Tenerife

Papas Fritas
Chips (French Fries). Papas fritas are common in traditional cooking; cabra (goat) and carne fiesta (seasoned pork cubes) often come covered in a mountain of chips that remind me of the ones my mum made at home. You can get papas fritas everywhere. It’s an easy start.

Papas Locas
As well as papas fritas, Canarian snack bars and cafés usually have papas locas on their menus.  Papas locas are chips with small strips of ham and cheese that are covered in ketchup, mayonnaise and a sweet curry-like sauce. This mix can vary.

Papas arrugadas, Meson del Norte, Buenavista del Norte, Tenerife

Papas Arrugadas
THE famous potato dish of the Canary Islands, papas arrugadas are wrinkled potatoes boiled in seriously salty water. These are so common it’s hard to believe that there can be anyone who’s visited Tenerife and not tried them.

Papa Bonito/Papa Negra
The best traditional restaurants use small and very tasty speciality Canarian potatoes such as papa bonito and papa negra for their papas arrugadas. Once you’ve had these you can annoy friends by asking ‘but have you tried proper papas arrugadas?’ when they’re tucking into their inferior King Edward version.

Pulpo a la Gallega, La Oliva, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Pulpo a la Gallega
Octopus and potato are made for each other. Not all pulpo a la Gallega comes with boiled and sliced potatoes, so it’s worth checking before ordering. You’ve hit the jackpot if you get a version which comes with mash potatoes (La Oliva in Puerto de la Cruz).

Patatas Bravas, or Papas Bravas
This is a Spanish import but Tenerife’s potatoes are perfect for this tapa of fried potato chunks drizzled with a spicy tomato sauce.

Tortilla Española
Another popular tapa dish that you can find anywhere on Tenerife, chunky potato and onion omelette. Go local by having it on a bocadillo (baguette).

Sesame tuna with mash, Lucas Maes, La Orotava, Tenerife

Espuma/Puré de Papas
Talking of mash potato, some of the most creative Canarian restaurants on Tenerife serve dishes with puré de papas (as it sounds), espuma (so light the mash is almost like foam) if it’s really creative cuisine. You know you’re in a top restaurant when you see either on the menu. You know you’re in a restaurant with Michelin star aspirations if the espuma or puré is batata (sweet potato).

Once you’ve worked your way through those it’s time to seek out the one-offs; the places which have come up with potato dishes that are unique to them, such as the sublime papas algarrobos from Bodeguita Algarrobo in La Paz, Puerto de la Cruz.

Papas algarrobo, Bodeguite Algarrobo, Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

And that’s it, potato challenge completed. Now where did I put that 5:2 diet book?

Posted : Wednesday, September 16th, 2015 at 11:07 am
Category : food and drink
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