Sancocho canario: what it is and how to make it
A typical recipe in the Canary Islands
The rich and varied gastronomy of the Canary Islands offers us all kind of menus. As well as the famous “papas arrugás” (wrinkled potatoes), which are known all over the world with their “mojos”, there are other lesser-known dishes that are the basis of the Canarian cuisine. Do you know what “Sancocho canario” is? We tell you what it is all about!
The origin of the Sancocho Canario
As you may have already guessed, the main ingredient of this dish is fish. After all, the Catholic tradition of not eating red meat on Fridays during Lent is still very popular today in Spain. That’s why, to understand the origin of this typical Easter dish, we must go back to the beginning of the 20th century, when different salt-curing techniques began to appear.
Despite its specific and limited location, there isn’t just one single recipe; in fact, on the island of Gran Canaria alone you’ll find 5 different versions of this dish. In the southern part of the island, the fish of choice is typically wreckfish and conger eel; while in the northern area, it is usually wreckfish or sea bass, particularly in Agaete, Gáldar and Guía. In any case, whatever your fish of choice may be, the result will certainly be a rich and hearty dish.
How to make Sancocho canario
Apart from fish, to make Sancocho canario you’ll also need potatoes or sweet potatoes, or even both, depending on the recipe you follow. And you can also add some vegetables. The recipe we at Seaside Collection suggest is made with 1 kg of wreckfish (or sea bass or corvina), 2 kg of potatoes, half kg of sweet potatoes, salt and a sprig of parsley.
First you need to remove the salt from the top of the fish and then soak it in water to desalt it properly. Repeat this process a couple of times. Some people start this process the day before and leave it soak overnight to make sure all the salt is removed.
After that, just mix all the chopped ingredients—fish, potatoes and sweet potatoes—in the same bowl, and add the parsley and salt. Then you boil, or rather parboil (sancochar), everything. So, as you see, this traditional dish takes its name from the Spanish verb sancochar, which literally means to parboil, a popular word used on the island to say that something has been boiled.
Finally, you just need to drain the water and serve it on a plate with a side dish of red mojo sauce, green mojo sauce and some gofio—another traditional Canarian dish made from roasted maize flour. It’s really tasty!
If you want to try this and more recipes of typical Canarian dishes, be sure to come to our Seaside Sandy Beach. Canary Islands, an archipelago to eat it up.