These are small Canary potatoes cooked in seawater or heavily salted water with a mild saline crystalline coating on the peel. Served as a side dish to Canarian food, they are delicious and small compared to our European ones. They are not incomprehensible, they are the original varieties of potatoes.
Origin of Canary potatoes
After the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus in the 15th century, potatoes were imported into Europe along with other attractive products such as corn, tobacco, etc. At that time, the Canary Islands were a strategic transhipment station of goods to Europe, and almost all ships sailing from America stopped here. It is documented that in 1580, a Dutch ship carrying a potato ship anchored on the island of Gran Canaria.
Canary potatoes – came from Peru?
Perhaps, thanks to these transports, potatoes came to local farmers, and they started to grow them. By not cultivating them, the original varieties that grew in America were preserved in the Canary Islands. Modern research has shown the affinity of Canary potatoes with the original Andean species of Peru and Bolivia. Thus, it is possible that when we enjoy Papas Canarias, we eat original variety that was consumed by the indigenous people of Andes – Incas.
We cook “Papas Canarias.”
Original recipe: Put them in a pot and pour over seawater so that their water exceeds a maximum of half a centimetre. We boil them uncovered on a small fire as the water gradually evaporates. When it stays at the level of one or one centimetre above the bottom, we turn off the fire and let it finish freely. The water evaporates and a fine crust of crystalline salt forms on the potatoes. It’s visually effective, and it tastes good.
Today, only few cook Papas in seawater, we solve it by adding a tablespoon of common or sea salt to the water. By experimenting, we find the correct ratios of salt with water. Canary potatoes are bought in the Canary Islands in supermarkets and markets, but they are more expensive than other types of potatoes. The most expensive variety is Canary Black Potato (Papa Negra), averaged from 1 to 3 cm and is dark in colour. In our circumstances, small pink potatoes from the supermarket will serve us well.
As a side dish or separately?
Usually, they are consumed as a side dish with Canarian foods, but you can eat them separately as well. In that case, it is served in a clay bowl or on the plate, and in the middle, there is some of the typical canary sauces – Mojo Rojo and Mojo Verde.