All about canary dogfish in sauce

Tollos are a typical element of Canarian gastronomy, also very appreciated in Andalusia and Argentina. They are strips of salted dogfish(Galeorhinus galeus or vitamin shark), which are dried in the sun. Tollo is a fish that can be eaten in different ways. It can be eaten either dried or in a sauce, a typical onion sauce that gives it a more homemade flavour. Well seasoned, the tollo is a fish that is really delicious.

Tollos with all the flavour, in Marca Canaria

What are tollos and their characteristics

Dogfish are elasmobranch carcharriniform fish belonging to the family Triakidae, and have their habitat in temperate waters of all seas and oceans. They live in waters close to the coast, at a maximum depth of 900 metres, being more common between 200 and 500 metres.

They usually feed on mackerel, mackerel, sardines and small invertebrates and crustaceans.

Its population has diminished notably because it is precisely one of the most emblematic dishes of Canarian gastronomy.

The popular tollos, which are expensive to prepare and have an intense flavour, are strips of dogfish that have been dried and hardened by the action of the sun, without any kind of additions. They became popular in ancient times, when sailors would catch the fish at sea and bring it back to the ports already dried.

Tollos with tomato or with sauce are very traditional in Andalusia, especially in the province of Huelva, which is not strange if we take into account that Andalusian gastronomy has many similarities with Canarian gastronomy.

However, there is a notable difference between the tollos of the two regions: while the Canarian ones are made with dogfish strips, the Andalusian ones are made with dogfish meat, another type of shark.

In the Canary Islands, tollos are usually accompanied by other very typical Canary Island foods, such as potatoes and mojos, with a truly delicious result.

Tollos with sauce on a plate

In addition to its excellent taste, tollo is also a food with a very high nutritional value. 100 grams of this food include:

  • Kilocalories: 82 %.
  • Protein: 18.7 grams.
  • Saturated fats: 0.2 grams.
  • Unsaturated fats: 0.2 grams.
  • Calcium: 35 mg.
  • Magnesium: 50 mg.
  • Potassium: 160 mg.
  • Phosphorus: 210 mg.
  • Thiamine: 0.04 mg.
  • Riboflavin: 0,60 mg.
  • Vitamin B12: 1.5 mg.

Tollos, delicious

Preparing hoppers in sauce

As is the case with almost all typical Canarian dishes, each island and each home has its own way of preparing tollos.

Whether dry or in sauce, tollos are a clear exponent of the archipelago's cuisine, and can be eaten all year round, although they are even more common during Easter.

It is not easy to prepare, but it is worth getting to work to share these Canarian fish with family and friends, or to give yourself a good personal treat, as you often don't need anyone else to enjoy them.


The ingredients listed below are what you will need to prepare an exquisite recipe for chicken in sauce for 4 people.

If you don't have enough guests for the feast, don't worry, this recipe will keep well in the fridge and you can save it for another feast a few days later.

These are the ingredients:

  • Desalted tuna (i.e. after at least 24 hours in fresh water): 1 kg.
  • Tomatoes: 600 grams.
  • Onions: 300 grams.
  • Garlic: one head.
  • Thyme: one bunch.
  • Canary Islandwhite wine.
  • Pepper and salt.
  • A bay leaf.
  • A quarter of a litre of olive oil.
  • A spoonful of sweet paprika.
  • One tablespoon of vinegar.
  • One coriander (this ingredient is optional).

Tollo dry in Marca Canaria

How to prepare tollos in sauce

For this Canarian recipe to be a success, you will have to carefully follow the steps below:

  1. First of all, don't forget to desalinate the toads, leaving them in water for at least 24 hours before cooking. When they are desalted, dry them well (you can use kitchen paper to do this) and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Stew them for 10 minutes in water, so that they soften, and set them aside while you prepare the sauce.
  3. Pour a dash of oil into a pot and heat it to make a sauce with the onion, garlic, pepper (all finely chopped), a bay leaf and a bunch of thyme.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked, add the tomatoes (cleaned of peelings and seeds), the paprika and the Canarian white wine (it doesn't have to be Canarian, but since we are making a Canarian recipe, let's do it to the last consequences).
  5. When you see that the ingredients are cooked and the sauce has a nice colour, add the hops and cover them completely with water.
  6. Then add a tablespoon of vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and leave to cook for about 20 minutes.
  7. If you are going to use coriander, chop it and add it once you have turned off the heat.

Canarian Tollos

And now you have your wonderful tollo recipe ready to serve. If you want your banquet to be a real tribute to the Canary Islands, accompany the dish with some potatoes or mojos, and wash it down with some of the magnificent wines with Canary Island designation of origin.

Photos:,, Gobierno de Canarias,,,, 


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