Seafood Pizza with basil sauce

Seafood pizza with basil sauce

Disaster struck on Saturday morning this weekend. I got up as usual at 8 am and went down to the kitchen. I knew what I had to do. We were planning to eat pizza that evening, and I wanted to mix the dough as early as possible. Pizza dough always becomes better with long fermentation time in the refrigerator. So the first thing I did was to check my sourdough starter. I had fed it before I went to bed, so I expected a lively, bubbling starter.

To my dismay, I saw that unlike me, it hadn’t woken up yet. And that’s bad. Very bad. Because as most of you know, it can take some time to wake up a sleepy starter. I didn’t have time for that.
I swore about lazy, ungrateful, useless and grumpy sourdough starters while I furiously glared down into the glass jar. A puny little bubble rose up to the surface and burst in front of my eyes.
I got the message.
“That’s all you will get, asshole, so why don’t you let me go back to sleep?”

I have been baking with a sourdough starter for many years now, and I know how to get my starter in a perfect, good, mature mood. Most of the time I should add. These things happen, I know. It happens even to professional bakers. Still, there are few things that make me more frustrated. You have planned everything in detail, but when it’s time for action, everything is ruined by a starter that makes a mummy appear like a playful foal.

I realized that there was only one thing left to do. I had to use commercial yeast. Now, before anyone starts to feel offended, I would like to point out that there is absolutely nothing wrong with using commercial yeast. I do it sometimes, depending on what kind of bread I want to bake. It’s just that we sourdough nerds are a bit special (or weird). If we have decided to bake something with a sourdough starter, it feels like a failure if we have to use commercial yeast.

And it was thoughts like that that ran through my head that morning. But then I remembered something. A few weeks ago I watched a cooking show about how they bake real Neapolitan pizza. A Swedish chef went down to Napoli to try to learn how to bake the famous dish. I remembered that he failed most of the time. But I also remembered that they used fresh, regular yeast.
“If the Italiens can use it, so can I,” I said to myself.
“You hear that you son of a mold-infested, hooch overfilled jar of shit” I shouted in triumph to my starter. “I don’t need you.”

My starter responded with silence.

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Mojo Rojo styled barbecue and dipping sauce

Mojo Rojo with roasted chickpeas and french fries

 

The barbecue season is here for us who lives in the northern hemisphere. Unlike those living in southerner latitude, we only have a limited time every year that we can barbecue. You can, of course, barbecue all year round here too. But for some reason, I’m not tempted to stand in the middle of winter fumbling with my fork and tong in the blistering cold, even though I know that some claim that winter is the best time for barbecue. That’s the time when it tastes best, they say.

Weird people.

At the other hand, most enthusiasts are a little weird. I mean, how many can feel pure happiness when they see that their sourdough starter has overflowed, turning everything around into a complete mess? Not so many. But I do. And I know that most real sourdough enthusiasts feel the same.

But let’s go back to the barbecue. To your perfectly barbecued steak you need a top notch sauce, right? Mojo Rojo is a perfect choice.
It’s a tapas sauce from Spain, more specifically from the Canary Islands. It’s traditionally served with Papas Arugadas or wrinkled Potatoes.
Red peppers and paprika are the main ingredients. Together with garlic, cumin, olive oil, and lemon juice this sauce can also be paired successfully with most smoky and flavorful grilled or barbecued dishes. When I did some research, I discovered that there appear to be two versions of this sauce. One with chili peppers and paprika powder, and one with both chili peppers and bell peppers.

For some reason, I suspect that the latter may not be completely authentic, but I’m not sure. But I think it’s more versatile, so that’s the one I will write about in this post.
It’s quite easy to do. Start with cutting the bell peppers in pieces and roast them in a hot skillet until the skin begins to turn black and wrinkled. You can also roast the peppers in the oven in larger pieces and peel them. When the skin starts to turn black, you just rinse the pieces under cold water. After that, it is quite easy to remove the skin.

Roasted bell pepper

But I think that whole procedure is unnecessary. I just mix the pieces with skin and everything with the rest of the ingredients to a smooth sauce. The sauce will contain som black dots from the charred skin, but I don’t mind that. I think it adds a rustic touch.

Mixing Mojo Rojo
Mojo Rojo

Some recipes tell you to mix the bell pepper raw, and that is of course easier. But I urge you not to skip the roasting process. The bell pepper develops a delicious sweet flavor when roasted that you don’t want to miss. If you think the sauce is too watery, you can add some leftover bread and mix it with the sauce.

As said before Mojo Rojo goes very well with all kinds of meat, but it’s also a perfect dipping sauce. Pour some roasted chickpeas and french fries on a parchment paper in the middle of the table together with a bowl of Mojo Rojo. Grab a bottle of your favorite beer and sit down around the table together with your friends and enjoy.

 

Mojo Rojo with roasted chickpeas and french fries


Print Recipe
Mojo Rojo styled barbecue and dipping sauce
This Mojo Rojo is excellent with all barbecued meat, but it's also great as a dipping sauce.
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Mojo Rojo
Roasted chickpeas
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Mojo Rojo
Roasted chickpeas
Instructions
Mojo Rojo
  1. Cut the chili pepper and bell pepper in halves and remove seeds and pith. Cut them into smaller pieces.
  2. Roast the pieces of bell pepper in a hot skillet until the skin starts to turn black.
  3. Mix bell pepper, chili pepper, garlic cloves, and cumin to a smooth sauce in a blender or with a stick blender. Flavor with salt and lemon juice. Add some leftover bread and mix it with the sauce if it's too watery.
Roasted chickpeas
  1. Preheat the oven to 480ºF / 250ºC. Rinse the chickpeas and let them dry on a paper towel.
  2. Mix the chickpeas with the rest of the ingredients. Roast them on a piece of parchment paper for 20 minutes, or until they have a nice color.
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