My folks have been holidaying in Lanzarote twice a year for as long as I can recall. They love the peace and quiet of the sleepy seaside town they visit and spend their time reading in the shade (Step Mum), eating ice cream (naughty Daddums) and when not BBQ-ing in their villa, frequenting the local restaurants. Playa Blanca is built on the tourist trade and they have restaurants popping up serving all different cuisines to cater for all but I must say, it’s those which serve local fare which I remember most fondly.
There is nothing quite so wonderful as wandering down to the seafront and taking a table overlooking the water as the sun sets, a bottle of red breathing on your table, the chef cooking fish caught that morning in the now deep, dark blue sea before you. Oh, I’ve had some incredible fish dishes of giant prawns, beautiful whole sea bass and not to mention the most tender and tasty tuna steaks you can imagine. No matter what the catch of the day, we couldn’t have a meal without a least one portion of Canarian potatoes and mojo sauce to go with our fish.
In the Canaries, they serve their potatoes by boiling or steaming them then tossing in lots of delicate, tasty local sea salt and leaving to suck up al that salinity as they stand. The skins wrinkle slightly and the insides are fluffy and soft. They always come with up to three variations on Mojo Sauce – red (roasted peppers for a sweet version or chillies for a hot version), green (coriander) or cheesy (queso fresco).
They often serve the sauces at the beginning of the meal and you can buy jars of it everywhere from the airport to the seafront. I love the red one (Mojo Rojo) the best as I am a little chilli head and the hotter the better – helps the sangria slip down 😉 The last time we went out with Daddums and Step Mum, I had one so hot my lips swelled and went numb for the duration of the evening (who needs botox eh?! Lol). Of course, it is so much better to make it yourself and you can be daring with the chilli or just let the roasted pepper and cumin speak for itself.
Whilst you won’t find my Mojo Pollock & Potatoes on the recipe, and I hold back on the salt on health grounds, I hope you like this Canarian inspired, light and healthy midweek meal which happens to also be easy on the wallet. Pollock is a great substitute for cod lovers and is a quarter of the price, not to mention a much more sustainable fish.
- 220 g pollock fillets approx
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp hot smoked paprika
- 1 large clove of garlic minced
- 400 g canned plum tomatoes
- 1 jarred roasted red pepper
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 300 g Baby new potatoes
- Salt and pepper to season generously
First get your potatoes on to cook - place in a sauce pan and cover with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. New potatoes can take between 10-20 minutes to cook depending on variety and size so it's better to get them on at the start.
Once yielding to your knife, drain well and return to the pan with a generous amount of salt and black pepper - they would add a worrying amount in the Canaries but I feel half a teaspoon is more than enough! Leave to stand and steam a little whilst the fish cooks - which doesn't take long at all.
Prepare the sauce by blitzing the drained tomatoes, pepper and vinegar to a smooth puree with a stick blender or in a food processor.
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan then add the cumin, paprika and garlic - sauté for 30 seconds then add the tomato sauce.
Bring up to a simmer then tuck in your fish fillets - loosely roll them up if you need get them in and place with the roll side exposed to allow for even cooking.
Partially cover and cook for about 5-6 minutes, depending on how thick the fish fillets are. They are cooked once opaque and the flesh flakes easily.
Serve in shallow bowls with the potatoes on the side.
Starting the potatoes in cold water is important as if you plunge them into boiling water, it's hard to get them to cook through.