This Dame Cooks A Collection of Recipes from Alaska to the South Pacific and Caribbean

Mojo Isleño – Red Snapper with Islander Sauce

08.29.2014 · Posted in Main Dishes

Salinas is a little town on the Caribbean side of Puerto Rico famous for their Festival del Mojo Isleño.  The festival celebrates the largess of Caribbean fish and mojo varieties of the island.  Literally, Mojo Isleño means “islander sauce” and Pargo (red snapper) is the traditional fish for this recipe, though grouper, cod, tilapia or any white-flesh fish will do.    This sauce is very close to a Sofrito with the usual Puerto Rican ingredients:  garlic, onion, sweet red and green peppers, tomatoes, green olives, capers, vinegar and olive oil.   Mojo has its origins in the Canary Islands and is a superb condiment for mofongo (mashed plantains), fried plantain chips, rice or chicken.   Substitute lime juice for the vinegar and smother sauteed shrimp or scallops.  Substitute a jar of roasted red peppers for the bell peppers and serve as a dip with conch fritters.

Mojo is easy to make and any left-overs will keep in the refrigerator for a month and in the freezer for 4 months.  Try this the next time you want to throw a Latin party or serve a tasty seafood dish.  As I’ve mentioned in my last posts on Puerto Rican cuisine, Puerto Ricans do not cook with spicy hot chilies but that shouldn’t stop you from adding chili sauce or chilies to taste to any Puerto Rican recipe.  What you’ll end up with is your version of a great Puerto Rican dish.  Bueno!  Muy delicioso por tu.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 Anaheim chili chopped (or green bell pepper)
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes diced (15 oz can Roma tomatoes diced and drained)
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup pimento stuffed green olives chopped
  • 1 Tbsp capers rinsed
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2 lbs fish fillets cut into serving portions
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice and 1 tsp minced garlic
  • sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • olive oil for frying


  1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Saute onions and peppers until translucent.
  2. Add garlic and saute 1-2 minutes more.
  3. Add tomatoes, vinegar, olives, capers and bay leaves.  Simmer 10-12 minutes until somewhat reduced.
  4. Mix 3 Tbsp lime juice with 1 tsp of garlic and rub the fish fillets to marinate while sauce reduces.
  5. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat, coat bottom of skillet with olive oil.
  6. Salt and pepper fish fillets and saute until lightly browned on both sides.
  7. Spoon sauce over fish and continue to cook for 6-8 minutes until fish is flaky done.
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10 Responses to “Mojo Isleño – Red Snapper with Islander Sauce”

  1. Instead of making the sauce entirely from scratch we found a delicious sofrito on-line at that makes using s sofrito a breeze for many dishes.

    You could substitute it for the olive oil, onion, Anaheim chili, garlic, and tomatoes above. Continue with the recipe as shown.

    We have used this sofrito to make black beans and rice, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), tamal en cazuela (creamy polenta with pork), red beans with ham and chorizo, and the best and most surprising is beef short ribs braised in red wine. All were fabulous and using this Old Havana sofrito saved at least 25 minutes of chopping and sauteing.

  2. Thanks for the info. I’m sure Old Havana will work well in any Cuban or Puerto Rican recipe. You notice there is no culantro or cilantro in this mojo sauce but there is in sofrito. All modifications to original recipes are allowed. That’s how we recreate old favorites. Keep the comments coming. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. [...] Mojo Isleño – Red Snapper with Islander Sauce | This D… [...]

  4. Thanks so much for the link-back. Hope you’re booked solid for the coming season. I’m in Aguada so give me a holler by email… You can also catch me on Facebook and Twitter. Fair Winds Angler.

  5. This has got to be the best way to eat grouper ever…Ingredients: 8 ounces shallots, spray grapeseed or olive oil, 1/4 cup white wine, 1/4 tsp salt, fresh ground black pepper, 2 tsp prepared horseradish, 1 tsp honey, 4 4 ounce grouper filets…Preheat the oven to 375°F. Then place the shallots in a small stainless steel or non-reactive sauce pain. Spray lightly with olive oil and cover the pan. Place the pan in the oven and roast the shallots for about 30 minutes. Remove at 15 minutes and toss…After 30 minutes add the white wine, salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for about 5 minutes….Place the shallots in a blender or mini-chopper with the horseradish and honey. Puree until smooth…Place a large skillet in the oven and preheat the oven to 426°F….After the oven is at temperature, spray the pan lightly with grapeseed oil and place the grouper filets in the pan. Cook for about 6 minutes and turn the fish. Spread about 2 – 3 tablespoons sauce on top of each fish and return the pan to the oven. Return to the heat for another 5 – 7 minutes and plate:)

  6. Thanks for the recipe of roasted shallots and grouper. Can the sauce be made ahead a day or two?

  7. I really enjoyed this—it was a quick, easy dinner. I used a combination of peppers I got from…

  8. hmm delicious :)

  9. THX for sharing.

  10. Good post, I always like them.

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