Friday, June 4, 2010

Almogrote

The Canary Islands are known for their variety of food.  Each island has a particular taste for a particular item.  The same ingredient can be used in different ways from one island to the other.  Take cheese, for example.  Each island has a distinctive method for making it.  In Tenerife is abundant, fresh goat cheese.  In Fuerteventura you can taste the rare Canary Islands sheep cheese.  It is like Manchego cheese, but softer and milder.  In El Hierro, the smallest island of all, you can get Pimento Cheese, a ground paprika coated cheese.  Each one of the seven islands are different in its own way, although maintaining their identity as The Canary Islands.

    Today, I am going to talk Almogrote.  Almogrote is a fine, exquisite cheese paté, made of cured cheese. It is made with leftover Canarian cheese that has become tough and hard to eat.  Almogrote comes from the arabian vocabulary, "al mojrot", meaning cheese sauce.  The natives from the island of La Gomera, where almogrote is more popular, have taken the arabian influence in the islands to a whole new level to offer us this magnificent delicacy.
     Out of the Canary Islands, it is very hard to find the authentic Canarian cheese to make almogrote.  But I found that with a good quality Manchego cheese, you can achieve the goal of making a decent almogrote.
First of all, I recommend to let the Manchego cheese dry out a few days (5 days) before actually making it. Just let the cheese sit in a shallow plate, outside the refrigerator covered with a paper towel, at room temperature.  Remember to discard the excess grease that will come out of the cheese as it dries out.  After the cheese is dry and tough, then you are ready to delight your friends with home made almogrote.
And the ingredients that you will need are:

  • 1 cup of cured cheese
  • 1 whole cayenne pepper
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
     Introduce the cheese, cut in pieces, in a food processor and break it up a little.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until you get a smooth paste.  You can add a bit more olive oil to soften the paste a little bit more if needed.
     Serve almogrote with toasted slices of bread.
     Qué le aproveche!

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