This entry is dedicated to Fina. She was my friend’s grandmother and the source of this particular recipe. I have very fond memories of her and even though she wasn’t blood, our families were close. May God rest her soul.
We were lucky that Fina would make us this typical Canarian spicy sauce so we had a good supply of it in the fridge to satisfy our needs. Traditionally, it is eaten with Papas arrugadas (Canarian Wrinkled Potatoes) but it goes with just about anything: meat, fish, vegetables, heck you could even use it as a marinade (light bulb idea)!
There is no right or wrong way to have mojo as each person has different tastes but I’ve always been used to a slightly chunky mojo which has NOT been taken to the brink of turning into a mayonnaise. You can play around with the texture yourself by adding more or less vinegar and olive oil and also in the amount of time you blend the sauce. Don’t forget to taste the sauce as you go along to adjust the seasonings according to your taste.
Traditionally, the spicy element to this sauce is Pimienta Picona Canaria which is a red chilli native to the Canary Islands. It is however extremely hard to track down even on mainland Spain so you can easily substitute it for any red chilli pepper you can get your hands on.
This recipe is enough to fill a good sized jar.
4 heads garlic
6 Tbsp. cumin seeds
4 Tbsp. sweet pimenton (or paprika)
8 Pimienta Picona Canaria (or fresh red chilli)
12 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
Salt, to taste
Olive oil, as much is needed
4 Tbsp breadcrumbs (optional)
1 Dry roast cumin seeds and saffron in a frying pan and grind into a powder using a coffee or spice mill.
2 In a food processor or hand blender blitz the garlic and chilli together. Then add the cumin, saffron, pimenton, salt and a good glug of vinegar. Blitz again.
3 At this point you can start to add the olive oil. Pour in a steady stream of oil while blitzing. Make sure not to over blitz to prevent it from emulsifying and ending up as mayonnaise. Taste and adjust seasonings. At this point you can also play with the consistency you desire; there is no right or wrong way.
4 In order to thicken up the sauce you can add some breadcrumbs. Blitz one more time to incorporate.
5 Pour into an airtight container or jar and top up with more olive oil. The olive oil acts like a natural seal that prevents oxygen from spoiling the ingredients.
6 Store in the fridge. It keeps for months on end.
NB This sauce is best consumed after it has had time to settle in the fridge for a few hours but if you can’t wait you can also use straight away.