Another WOW moment in our culinary journey. This post is for my buddy Brenda because she wants it. I’ve noticed posts of late really tend toward Mexican/Southwest cuisine. We really like this style of cooking but maybe we’re in a rut. I don’t know. So, I was going to post some really terrific European dishes. Nonetheless, Brenda asked me what we had for dinner last night and I told her we had fish tacos. She wanted to know what was in it so I told her. She said it sounded great (It is) and what were we fixing tonight. I laughed and told her we were considering doing it again because it was THAT GOOD. She asked me if I would post it here, so here it is. Thank Brenda because I wasn’t going to post it for a while as I am missing some photos (which I will have to post later) but…
I know what you’re thinking…”What in the world is mojo?” Well, it’s not I got my mojo working, although I do, especially with this recipe. Mojo is a salsa typical of the Spanish Canary Islands. It is an essential accompaniment for some meals typical of the archipelago. Because of its chile content, many mojos are spicy. This is not spicy but very flavorful. Among the more common ingredients in mojos are chile, garlic, salt, paprika, cumin or coriander, oil, parsley, saffron and tomato. Mojos fall in two categories, i.e. green mojos and red mojos. The most common green mojos are green mojo prepared with green peppers or chiles, mojos with cilantro and mojos with parsley. These green mojos are generally found in guachinches and restaurants. The most commonly found red mojos consist of picona and paprika. This is a spinoff of a traditional Canary Island mojo with a Mexican/Caribbean flair. It is absolutely phenomenal and we strongly recommend you try it.
- ¾ cup peeled whole garlic cloves (about 2 large heads)
- 1 cup good-quality olive oil
- 3 limes
- 4 chipotle chiles en adobo, seeded and minced
- 2 pounds mild, firm white fish
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- Corn tortillas
- Pico de Gallo
For mojo de ajo
1. Chop garlic with a sharp knife into 1/8-inch bits
2. Put chopped garlic into a small (1-quart) saucepan. Add oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Set over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally as mixture barely reaches a simmer.
You want there to barely any movement on the surface of the oil as this is going to cook very slowly so as to produce a sweet garlic, not bitter or harsh. Once it barely reaches a simmer, reduce the heat to very lowest possible setting to keep mixture at that very gentle simmer. You should see bubbles rising in the pot like like very fine champaign, small bubbles every so often.
3. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is a soft and pale golden (similar to the color of light brown sugar), about 45 – 50 minutes. The slower you cook the garlic the sweeter it will be in the end. Also, you will have a wonderfully infused oil when done.
4. While the garlic is simmering, mince the chipotle in adobo.
5. Once you have reached the desired color, squeeze the juice of 1 of the limes into the pan and simmer until most of the juice has evaporated or been absorbed into the garlic. This takes roughly 5 minutes. Add the chipotles, then season with salt to taste.
6. While preparing the fish, keep the pan over low heat, so garlic will be warm when the fish is ready. Cut remaining limes into wedges, put into a serving bowl and set on the table as a condiment for serving.
For the fish
1. Cut the fish into 1 – 2 inch pieces.
2. Set a large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1½ Tbsp of oil from the reserved, warm mojo de ajo (do not add the garlic – only the oil). Add ½ of the fish to the skillet, sprinkle generously with salt. Stir gently so as not to break up the fish and continuously stir until fish is just cooked through, 3 or 4 minutes.
3. Put the fish onto a deep serving platter. Repeat steps for cooking the remaining ½ of the fish adding another 1½ tablespoons of the garlicky oil. When all the fish is cooked, use a slotted spoon to scoop out the warm bits of garlic and chiles from the pan and pour them over the fish. Top with chopped cilantro.
4. Serve with warm corn tortillas, lime wedges, guacamole and pico de gallo.
Notes: You will have leftover oil in the saucepan, perhaps as much as ½ cup. Keep it! This beautifully infused oil is wonderful. It makes a wonderful aioli, is great for poaching eggs, and is good for sautéing practically anything. It will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Hence, it makes sense to cook more than you need. Also, mojo de ajo in the refrigerator makes great potential for a quick wonderful meal. Bring the cold mojo de ajo to room temperature and heat slowly before using. Also, if you fix a double batch, the leftover garlic and chipotle salsa can be used in a variety of things. My friend John thought it was so good he ate in on a cracker as a spread.
Here is what it looks like with Shrimp, instead of fish.