Almogrote is a cheese dish that features a soft, but somewhat thick, texture, ideal for being spread on bread. It originated from the Canary Islands, particularly in La Gomera. Many people also consider the dish a Spanish cuisine, as the Canary Islands is one of Spain’s autonomous communities. Aside from being smeared on bread, the almogrote can also be used on vegetables such as potato and tomato.
There are two possible derivations for the word “almogrote.” Some say that it originated from the Arabian term “al mojrot,” which is translated to mean “cheese sauce.” Others say that it might have come from the Spanish word “almodrote,” which is also a sauce made primarily of oil and garlic. Both of these possible derivations speak for how the Canarian cuisine has influences from both the Arabian and Spanish culture.
Traditionally, almogrote is made from leftover, hardened, unpasteurized cheese, usually made from goat’s milk. The cheese is then broken down into smaller pieces by a mortar and pestle, or a modern food processor for a faster method. To further soften the cheese, olive oil is mixed in. Added into the mixture are other simple spices such as garlic, pepper, and salt, all of which should be minced well for the mixture to blend properly.
In some cases, the ingredients are replaced or combined with other ingredients to give a different flavor. The goat cheese can be blended with sheep cheese, which has a creamier texture than the goat variety. Black pepper can also be substituted or combined with cayenne pepper for a spicier kick. Tomatoes can also be included as an optional ingredient to give the dish more acidity.
Some cheese makers make other variations of the Canarian cheese spread by adding other ingredients. The Almogrote Receta includes cloves, as well as potatoes, whose starch gives the dish more creaminess. The Almogrote Guachinerfe is made with cured or aged cheese and replaces olive oil with vegetable oil. Some Americanized versions of the cheese dish occasionally add mustard and butter for a different flavor, texture, and color.
One important step in making the almogrote is to remove the oil that has emerged from the cheese after it has hardened, as including the oil might affect the texture and the taste of the dish. This cheese paste also contains some nutritional benefits, particularly the significant amount of calcium from the cheese. Olive oil supplies the body with healthy monounsaturated fat, while garlic is known to contain antioxidants that keep the body’s cells healthy.