Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tacos with Mojo


It's no secret that my husband and I love watching food shows on TV.  He especially loves shows that feature outrageous food, like Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives and the food truck shows.  But one day he happened upon a show starring Rick Bayless, who is a reknowned chef who studied Mexican cuisine and even lived in Mexico.  He still has his own show called Mexico: One Plate at a Time.  

In this particular episode, he was making a Mojo de Ajo ( "mo-ho de a-ho"), which is a garlic sauce (not to be confused with the mojo that Austin Powers lost in The Spy Who Shagged Me which is pronounced as it is spelled).  My husband was intrigued.  Garlic slowly simmered in olive oil with peppers and then used to cook shrimp in.  My husband had to have it.

While I was very skeptical since olive oil can be too strong in large amounts, I agreed to try it.  The smell of the garlic slowly browning in the olive oil was amazing.  It's one of my most favorite smells.  Then came time to cook the shrimp. Easy enough.  Then time to plate this up and try it out.  All I can say is WOW!  The garlic mellows out the fruitiness of the olive oil.  The serrano peppers gave it a little kick. Topping them off with fresh pico de gallo and cotija cheese (or queso anejado), these tacos had a lot of mojo.  Austin Powers would approve.

MOJO DE AJO SHRIMP TACOS
FOR THE SAUCE:
2 large heads of garlic, peeled and minced
1 C olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 lime
2 serrano peppers, finely chopped

FOR THE PICO DE GALLO:
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 C red onion, diced
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T jalapeno, chopped (fresh or the jarred slices work)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 small limes
Salt & pepper, to taste

FOR THE TACOS:
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lime
2 T cilantro, chopped
Cotija cheese (also known as queso anejado or plain feta if you can't find it)

Put the mojo de ajo ingredients (cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice in) in a small pot over medium flame.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat a little.  You will simmer this for about 30 minutes or until the garlic is golden brown.  You will need to keep watching this and adjusting the heat up or down to ensure it doesn't burn the garlic.  Remove from the heat.

While the sauce is cooking, stir all of the pico de gallo ingredients together and leave in the fridge until you're ready to use.

When the sauce is done, put it in a large skillet and cook the shrimp over medium high heat until they are pink and completely done, about 5-6 minutes (maybe a little longer if your shrimp is really big).  Warm the corn tortillas up by wrapping them in a damp towel and microwaving them.  (If you have a gas stove, just put them on top of the grate over the burner and cook about 30 seconds each side.)  Sprinkle the cilantro over the shrimp.  Fill the tortillas with shrimp, pico de gallo, and some cotija cheese.

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