Cherne, emblematic fish of the Canary Islands

The wreckfish is a fish of the grouper family that inhabits the Atlantic coasts, from the Canary Islands to Norway. All months of the year are suitable for fishing this white fish.

Its large size made it a coveted prey for fishermen for many years, although it is now a protected species. Even so, it is still very important for divers and sport fishermen.

Known as "rock grouper", its habitat develops at low depth and its food is based on all kinds of crustaceans, molluscs, fish and algae.

The Canary Island wreckfishis considered one of the most emblematic fishes of the archipelago.

What is the cherne

Also known as rock grouper, rosemary, chernia or wreckfish, the wreckfish is a marine fish belonging to the Polyprionidae.

It is characterized by its large head and mouth and by its outstanding upper crest. It is a fish of brown to greyish colour and a robust body.

The cherne fish is very appreciated in the gastronomy of the Canary Islands.

Beautiful canary wreath

Characteristics of the Canary Island skullcap and its properties

The canary fish cherne has a very bulky body, ranging from 80 centimeters to 2 meters long, with a weight that can reach 100 kilos.

Although their colour is between brown and greyish, with a darker shade in the back area, the young specimens, which are less than 50 centimetres long, combine these colours with irregular dark and light streaks, with the edges of the tail being white.

The excess consumption of its excellent meat has resulted in a drastic decrease in the number of specimens on the Canary Islands' coasts since the 1990s.

Fresh Cherne in Marca Canaria

Their habitat is especially concentrated between 200 and 300 meters deep, although they have also been observed at 120 meters from the surface and at a depth of up to 800 meters. They show a great inclination to inhabit sunken ships and underwater caves.

The Canary Islands' cherne fish has magnificent nutritional properties. Each 100 grams of this fish presents the following values:

  • Energy: 91.9 kilocalories.
  • Protein: 17.8 grams.
  • Total fat: 2.3 grams.
  • Saturated fat AGS: 0.52 grams.
  • Monounsaturated fat AGM: 0.39 grams.
  • Polyunsaturated fat AGP: 0.7 grams.Grilled Cherene, in Marca Canaria

How to prepare in the Canary Islands

The culinary preparations of the cherne are very varied: whole and clean, in loins, onions, in papillote, in green sauce, sancocho, etc.

Let's look at some of the most popular recipes that include this succulent Canarian fish as a main ingredient.

Cherne with onions and peppers

Typical Canarian recipe that will take you no more than half an hour, with 5 minutes for preparation and 25 minutes for cooking. It is very simple and ideal to serve as a second course.

The ingredients for 4 people are as follows:

  • Salted cherries.
  • One medium-size onion.
  • Three cloves of garlic.
  • A spoonful of paprika.
  • A jar of bell peppers.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Vinegar.

Wreckfish, in Marca Canaria

The steps you must follow are these:

  1. Pour a dash of olive oil into a frying pan and, after cutting the onion into julienne strips, add a pinch of salt to help it poach.
  2. Clean the cherne while the onion is poached.
  3. Cut the garlic into small slices and add them to the onion.
  4. Add the paprika, stirring well so that it does not burn, and add a dash of vinegar.
  5. Add the fish and stir it all up very well. Cut the bell peppers into small strips and add them to the stew.

And you've already prepared your cherne with onions and peppers. You can accompany it with a few oiled potatoes.A plate of cherne

Cherne baked with paprika

A very tasty and easy to prepare recipe. These are its ingredients:

  • A filleted cherne.
  • Sliced potatoes for boiling.
  • A large, sliced, ripe tomato.
  • One large onion, cut into julienne.
  • A couple of cloves of sliced garlic.
  • Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Sweet paprika.
  • Get out.
  • Pepper.

The steps you must follow for its preparation are these:

  1. Pour a dash of olive oil on a baking tray and spread it out well.
  2. Place the boiled potatoes as the first layer, and over them the garlic and half of the onion, spread well. Put the cherne fillets on top and cover them with the remaining onion.
  3. Cover everything with the tomato slices and sprinkle with plenty of paprika. You can add a little pepper and salt on top. Sprinkle everything with a little olive oil.
  4. Finally, you only have to put the tray in the oven at 180 °C for about 20 minutes, taking care that the tomato does not burn.

And that's it, you have this magnificent canary dish ready to serve.

Infographics of the Canary Island skunk

The cherne is an emblem of the coasts and of the Canarian cuisine that you should not miss during your trip to the Canary Islands. Any time of year is good and you will find it in most restaurants. A real delight.

Photos:,, cherne fish and lobster tenerife, Canary Islands Government


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