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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Mediterranean salad with zucchini, lentils and feta cheese

Mediterranean salad

Why do I call this recipe for Mediterranean salad instead of greek salad? The flavors feel very much Greece to me. But the recipe for this salad has no origins in Greece at all, so I choose to call it Mediterranean instead. Everything else had felt a bit arbitrary. It’s like when I find recipes written in Australia for “authentic” Swedish meatballs. Don’t get me wrong. They looks delicious but not very authentic. This salad is something I composed from things I found in my fridge. Half a zucchini, a few tomatoes, some olives, a somewhat withered leek, and a piece of feta cheese that had to be consumed in a very near future.

Feta cheese

Olives

To give it som backbone I decided to add some green lentils that I found in my pantry. I also found some wheatberries that I couldn’t resist. The first thing I had to do was to boil the lentils and wheatberries. I seldom buy canned lentils or beans. There has been to many alarms here in Sweden regarding bisphenol in tin cans the last years.

lentils for Mediterranean lentil salad

Don’t let the dressing steal the show.

While the lentils were boiling, I mixed the dressing. I wanted a Greek touch, after all, so I choose olive oil, Vinagre, garlic, and oregano. When you mix a dressing, it is important that the garlic and vinegar don’t dominate too much. You don’t want to look like a pug in your face when you eat your salad. Too much garlic and vinegar just kill all other flavorsI use to grate the garlic and mix it with the oil. After that I let it stand for 15 to 20 minutes. Before I add it to the salad, I pour the oil through a strainer to get rid of all pieces of garlic. That way, I get a mild garlic flavor, just the way I want it. I add the Vinagre drip by drip until I get a desirable freshness.

Never waste the green part of the leek.

A typical Greek salad often contain red onion. Now, I love red onion, but when I found that leeks, I decided to use that instead. Most of what was left of it were the green part. But that was perfect. The green part is the best to use for salad. It adds both color and a mild taste, almost like spring onions.

Leek

I know it is not the season for tomatoes just yet. But if you salt and drain them, you can tease out a little more flavor. You can read more about that technique here.

This is a typical use all those vegetables before they must be discarded salad. I like that a lot as minimizing food waste is one of my missions. Besides, it tastes just great. As a final touch, I added some pumpkin seed. But that’s additional. Serve with a slice of sourdough bread. Close your eyes and enjoy and imagine that you are sitting at a small tavern somewhere in Greece.

Mediterranean salad

Print Recipe
Mediterranean style lentil salad with feta cheese
This is a typical use all those vegetables before they must be discarded salad. Serve with a slice of sourdough bread and enjoy the Mediterranean flavors.
Mediterranean salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Dressing
Topping
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Dressing
Topping
Mediterranean salad
Instructions
  1. Mix olive oil with vinagre. Add salt an pepper.
  2. Add all ingredients into a big kitchen bowl. Add dressing and toss until everything is thoroughly dressed.
  3. Spread some pumpkin seed on top.
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