Chunky Mojo Isleño

Salinas Puerto Rico

Photo Credit – Angel Figueroa. All rights reserved.

On Sundays, people pile up their families in their cars and take off to explore the island and every corner’s signature flavors.  On today’s Domingo Criollo feature, we ‘visit’ the Southern Puerto Rico town of Salinas through this recipe for chunky mojo isleño.

Chunky Mojo Isleño

A Puerto Rican South Delicacy

Mojo isleño is a tomato, onion and vinegar based condiment that is usually served with fried fish and seafood.  A recipe from immigrants from the Spanish Islas Canarias evolved into this sauce or relish for fish and seafood dishes.  The mojo isleño is traditionally served with fried grouper rounds, snapper, conch, or lobster.  It is also the base for one of the most popular Puerto Rican seafood dishes, salmorejo de jueyes.

There are as many recipes for mojo isleño as there are families in Salinas, the coastal town that has claimed it as their own.  The Festival del Mojo Isleño takes place in the town every July, bringing together fans of this delicious sauce, fresh seafood, music and water sports.

chunky mojo isleño

Steaming pot of chunky mojo isleño in the works

Chunky Mojo Isleño

Most mojo isleño recipes call for Spanish style tomato sauce, however, I use canned diced tomatoes for this version.  I dice the onions and peppers in the sauce at approximately the same size as the tomatoes.  The flavors of each component of the mojo can be appreciated in every bite.

Mojo isleño recipes traditionally include sugar to balance the tart flavor of the tomato and vinegar, but I like using agave or brown rice syrup instead.  They are easier to integrate into the sauce than sugar and help give it body.

chunky mojo isleño
Chunky Mojo Isleño
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Mojo isleño is a traditional Puerto Rican South sauce or relish that is usually served with fish and seafood. This vinegary salsa is a tasty topper for plantains and chicken as well.

The prep work can be done between steps. While the oil infuses with the bay leaves, chop the onions. While the onions sweat, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To use the sauce as the base for stewed land crab (salmorejo de jueyes) puree the sauce in batches on a blender.

We left out olives, which are usually included in the sauce but added plenty of capers for their briny taste and for texture.
Prep Time
20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2hours 2hours
Prep Time
20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2hours 2hours
chunky mojo isleño
Chunky Mojo Isleño
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Mojo isleño is a traditional Puerto Rican South sauce or relish that is usually served with fish and seafood. This vinegary salsa is a tasty topper for plantains and chicken as well.

The prep work can be done between steps. While the oil infuses with the bay leaves, chop the onions. While the onions sweat, prepare the rest of the ingredients.

To use the sauce as the base for stewed land crab (salmorejo de jueyes) puree the sauce in batches on a blender.

We left out olives, which are usually included in the sauce but added plenty of capers for their briny taste and for texture.
Prep Time
20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2hours 2hours
Prep Time
20minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2hours 2hours
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the bay leaves and infuse the oil for about five minutes. Add the onions and stir to coat them with the oil. Lower the heat to medium low and cover the sauce pan. Let the onion sweat for about ten minutes, stirring them once or twice.
  2. Add the garlic and the peppers and stir and cook with the onions for ten minutes. Add the tomatoes, capers, salt, pepper, vinegar and syrup and stir well. Let the sauce simmer over medium low heat for about two hours, stirring occasionally.

mahi mahi mojo isleño

Keeping it light and quick – mahi mahi filets topped with mojo isleño baked “al cartucho”  – in a parchment paper envelope.

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Author:Adriana

Adriana is a financial analyst by day, avid home cook in the evenings, and food blogger and runner in the strange hours between those two. When not in the kitchen concocting meals and stories to pass around, she is out looking for the next great bite (or the ingredients to make it at home), checking what's new at the market, or planning a trip around great food and wine.

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