Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria

Recipes from an Islandmix. Chef Xabier Blanco. Gran Canaria.

This is how Salmon marinated in tune cactus flower sauce, with Guía flower cheese, avocado and sweet potato crunch, by chef Xabier Blanco, is made


800 gr salmon loin
600 gr tuna cactus juice
200 gr beetroot juice
2 squeezed limes
200 gr salt 
200 gr Guía Flower Cheese
100 gr cream 35%
2 avocados 
1 pinch of cumin
1 handful of crushed coriander
1 lime 
1 kg large yellow sweet potatoes
130 gr cream 
120 gr butter 
Some salmon spawn to embellish the dish

Salmon marinated in tuno cactus flower, Guía flower cheese, avocado and crunchy sweet potato


- Salmon marinated in tuno cactus juice
Sumerge the salmon into a recipient covered with the marinade made from tuno cactus juice, beetroot juice, the limes and salt. Allow to sink in slowly for 20 to 30 hours in a refridgeration chamber. The acid from the marinade will soften the muscular tissue of the salmon thinning out the proteins and making the product that much more tender.
Once the marinating period is over, take out the salmon loin and dry it off. The whole piece will have become impregnated from the outside with a purple colour and will display a terse and tender texture.

- Cream of Guía flower cheese

Heat up the cream in a pan and melt the Guía flower cheese into the cream. Keep working it in until a thick and concentrated texture is achieved.

- Cream of avocado and cumin
Crush all the avocado, cumin, coriander and lime juice in together.
Add salt to taste.

- Sweet potato crunch
Roast the sweet potato in the oven without taking off the skin at 180 ºC for 40 minutes. (Time may vary depending on the thickness of the potato).
Draw out the pulp from the potato and mash it in finely with the cream and the butter. If no Termomix is available to apply the temperature when chopping off, lightly heat the cream and melt the butter into it and then blend it in with the potato.
Once mashed spread out the puré on a non-stick silicon tray or on greased oven paper with a spatula. It has to be evenly spread several milimetres deep. The finer it is before drying the better the texture it will have.
Let it dry out in a dry place at room temperature. To accelerate the process it can be dried in an oven at 65ºC for a few hours. As much humidity as possible must be drawn out of the product before frying it.
When the spread is fully dried it is fried in large portions (lightly so that they don’t burn) and the crunchy product can be shaped as required before it cools off. The reason for letting it cool is for it to be crunchier.
To round off the dish, just add the salmon spawn.

Download recipe [PDF - 357 KB]


Chef Xabier Blanco explains the origin of his recipe:

"I have been inspired by 3 Gran Canarian products. Firstly, I thought of Guía flower cheese, as it is one of the most symbolic products on the island.

Secondly I chose the tuno cactus because it is a rarely used ingredient other than for making juices, and for the fact it is a peculiar product in the islands’ cuisine. For me it has great potential, an untapped potential even. I thought that the pH of this product would be good for marinating fish.

And lastly, the sweet potato, which is a product with a long tradition on the islands, and in the case of our restaurant, brought in from the municipality of Gáldar.

Salmon is a greasy fish that we give a spreadable quality to with the cream cheese and avocado. The potato done this way adds a crunchy texture and a light sweetness due to the caramelization of its starch. Then the spawn softens the greasy flavour in the mouth and brings a characteristic sweetness. It strengthens and rounds off the dish."

Chef Xabier Blanco
Salmon marinated in tuno cactus flower, Guía flower cheese, avocado and crunchy sweet potato

Who is Xabier Blanco?

Xabier Blanco is a young chef from Navarre who graduated from the Basque Culinary Centre at the University of Mondragón. He combined his university studies with periods of training at the Alhambra in Pamplona (two Repsol Suns), at the Michelin-starred Alkimia in Barcelona and at the Ituarte Group in Mexico DF.

During his studies he specialised in the food industry and was hired by R&D company Ctic/Cita as a research and development technician. After a year spent developing product prototypes for the agri-food industry, Xabier made a professional move towards the catering sector, thanks to an opportunity offered to him by the hotel brand Bull Hotels. It was an opportunity that brought him to Gran Canaria to run the kitchens at the Summum Restaurant in the Bull Reina Isabel & Spa.

At the end of 2021, Xabier decided to promote his own gastronomic range at Nákar restaurant, located at Calle Fernando Guanarteme 10 in the island’s capital, where now as owner and chef he displays his creativity and good work.

Our 12th 'dish-enhancing' secret ingredient

The municipality of Santa María de Guía, in the north of Gran Canaria, can boast a truly exceptional product: its very own Guía Flower Cheese, the only cheese in the Canary Islands which is made with a vegetable coagulant, namely the cardoon flower. This special preparation, together with the extraordinary quality of the rich milk from this northern region, gives Guía’s cheese its unique taste. This quality has been rewarded with the distinction of Denomination of Origin which was awarded back in 2007

If you are a gourmet interested in learning about the making of this superb flower cheese, we recommend you go along to the Casa del Queso in the village of Montaña Alta, an essential visit indeed!