Although grouped together, the Spanish islands have very different cooking styles because of their location.
The Balearic islands are in the Mediterranean Sea while the Canaries are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Different weather patterns influence the kind of fresh ingredients available on each.
The Baleares are so tuned to tourism that it is difficult to find the authentic island cooking. Those who venture out of the tourist paths can find a typically Mediterranean cuisine, full of olive oil, fish dishes, and the local sweet peppers and eggplants. Sobrasada, the Mallorcan paprika flavored sausage, flavors many dishes. Sobrasada is good to eat on its own, just grilled or over toasted bread. Pork lard is the base –and the reason why they are so scrumptiously crumbly- of the famous sweet and savory pastries. Their Arab legacy shows in the hints of sweetness that often slip into savory dishes.
Traditional specialties of the Baleares are tumbet (eggplant casserole); sopes mallorquines (bread and vegetable stew); empanada mallorquina (savory pie topped with grilled sobrasada and sugar); caldereta de langosta (lobster stew); stuffed vegetables; arroz brut (rice and pork casserole); cocas (topped flatbreads); ensaimada (coiled sweet bread usually filled with candied pumpkin)
Canarias - Canary Islands - The Canaries
The cuisine of the Canary Islands is a mix of peninsular, African and Caribbean influences. Plenty of sub-tropical fruits and vegetables are grown there, such as avocado, pineapples, papayas, yams, and bananas. The New World potatoes and tomatoes found a fertile soil in the Islands and they are present in many dishes. Potatoes have evolved into a very distinctive local variety, often served with mojos, spicy salsas containing chili, herbs and garlic and always prepared with mortar and pestle. There is plenty of fish in the islands and it shows in their recipes.
Traditional specialties include gofio canario (a kind of porridge made with toasted grain); tortilla de platanos (omelet with sliced bananas); sopa de berros (watercress soup);puchero canario (meat and chickpeas stew); sancocho (dried fish, potato, and sweet potato stew); papas arrugadas (the local potatoes served with mojo colorado or mojo picón); quesadillas (cheesecake)