Sunday 30 May 2010

Got My Mojo Working

I've never been to the Canary Islands. But my wife went there on holiday with her sister a few years ago. She brought back with her an amazing alchemical secret contained within a tiny and unassuming paperback: Mojo.

Mojo is a garlic sauce which is ubiquitous throughout the Canaries. It's provided as a dip along with snacks in cafes, bars and restaurants. You may have tried it cooked in the red version of it used in Spanish Tapas recipes, such as "Polo con Mojo de Ajo".

I called it "alchemical" because of the way it can transform the flavour of a dish. Whether used as a marinade for grilled fish or chicken; or dolloped in with some pan-fried seafood; it instantly adds mouthwatering garlicky umami-ness.

Let's get something straight here: you have to like garlic a lot to love this stuff. It's very easy to make: the peeled cloves from a whole bulb of garlic; olive oil; vinegar (I usually use cider vinegar); teaspoon of salt; big bunch of parsley and one avocado. Chuck the whole lot in a blender and whizz (adding more oil or vinegar if required) until smooth and creamy.

I've mentioned some of the uses in cooking but I prefer it in its raw state. We had some yesterday, to accompany pan-fried prawns. Crusty bread along with that: instant, tasty, reeking dinner!

My favourite is the green version, as described above. But there are many different varieties, including ones with nuts and oranges. You can make a red one using paprika and/or red peppers and/or red chillies instead of parsley and avocado. Just don't scrimp on the garlic.

There is an important pact which must be entered into when eating fresh mojo: everyone in the household must partake at the same time. For some reason you don't seem to notice the smell when all garlic-stenching to the same degree.

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