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