Simple Salsa for Summer Barbecues

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If you want to spice up your sausages or beef up the burgers this summer, try this delicious Mojo Picante Salsa recipe from The Beautiful Canary Islands. Warning: once you taste this there is no turning back as you will want to put it on everything!

Simple Salsa for Summer Barbecues

What is Mojo Picante?

Mojo Picante is a spicy sauce that originates from the Canary Islands, Spain. It is a sauce that they use to accompany meat and small roasted salty potatoes. There are two varieties Mojo Picante and Mojo Verde. Mojo Picante is red and spicy while the Verde is green, fresh, tangy, and garlicky.

La Islas Bonita

I first visited The Canary Islands in 1995, my then-boyfriend- now husband's mother was from the lesser-known island of La Palma. The village she was born in was so tiny and remote that there was only one restaurant and they served only one dish. The restaurant was called Parilla Grill and the dish was, Papas Canarias with Fish and Mojo.

This was one of the freshest, most delicious, and satisfying meals I had ever eaten. It was then that I was fully hooked on the spicy red sauce simply known as Mojo (pronounced Moh-ho). The Canarian people will add this tasty condiment to meat, fish, and potatoes and eat daily.

Now nearly 30 years later my husband I still make this at home regularly and when we have barbecues in the summer will always have big bowls of Red and Green Mojo for our guests to enjoy. Every time someone new tries it out they will always ask for the recipe, which is so simple and quick to make.

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Image 1
The three main ingredients for making the perfect mojo sauce. Kids will never know it's got avocado in it once it's blended through.

Whip this up in 5 Minutes

There are ready made jars available to buy but personally nothing beats making this from scratch, if you have any type of food processor or blender then this is such a quick job you will be amazed at such a yummy flavour being whipped together in a matter of minutes. When it is made from fresh ingredients it can be kept in an airtight container for 2 days in the fridge.

There are lots of different recipes out there but the one we favour is made from fresh red peppers, traditionally, the Spanish use dried peppers and re-hydrate them before making the Mojo. This recipe is a simpler version that you can make without too much prep, and it is equally delicious.

Avocados make the Mojo rich and creamy

Whilst not strictly traditional, Avocados are added in many Mojo versions. I favour adding the avocado as it makes the Mojo richer and full of body. It is also a way I managed to get some fresh avocado into the mouths of fussy eaters.

Image 2
It's essential to blend all the ingredients in a good quality blender to achieve the best possible consistency. We've used a KitchenAid.

Ingredients for Mojo Picante

  • 2 Pointed Red Peppers
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Clove Fresh Garlic
  • 10ml Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 50ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Juice of a Lemon
  • Small Red Chilli or Pinch of Dried Chillie Flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon Paprika
  • Generous Pinch of Sea Salt

Image 3
The finished article served on a plate with salmon, white and sweet potato wedges, and vegetables. The Spanish traditionally always consume mojo with fish and potatoes.

How to Prepare the Mojo

Making the Mojo could not be easier; all you need to do is de-seed the Pepper and Chilli (if you are using it). Cut into pieces and add to the food processor along with the Avocado, Garlic, Lemon Juice, and Vinegar. Add the salt and Paprika, dried Chilli Fakes (if you are using them) and then blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into a bowl and very gently stir in the Olive Oil.

Don't be shy to tweak to your own taste

The beauty of making things yourself is you can play around with the ingredients and tailor them to your likes/dislikes, lay off the Chilli if you don't like things too spicy. Or leave out the avocado if you want a more liquid style salsa. These traditional recipes often vary from place to place with everyone putting their own personal stamp on them.

If you are making the Mojo Verde, see the ingredients below, you can make this with a mix of Parsley and Coriander or all Parsley. I would recommend the Flat leaf parsley as it is a softer flavour and texture. The Green Pepper is also optional, but I find it gives the Mojo a very deep flavour.

Ingredients for Mojo Verde

  • Medium Bunch of Fresh Coriander
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Green Chilli
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Clove Fresh Garlic
  • 10ml Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 50 ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Juice of a Lemon

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