Few recipes have made me as excited and eager to get into the kitchen and start peeling four nail-burning heads of garlic as when I saw Rick Bayless stir up some garlic-gold alchemy on public television with his Mojo de Ajo.
Mojo de Ajo, which apparently translates into a bath of garlic, is a traditional Mexican dish with infinitely delicious possibilities, and you can see why. Think of a ton of spicy garlic drowned in fruity olive oil and then kissed alive by tangy lemon juice. It’s magic.
Mojo de Ajo is great on almost anything: drizzle a few drops on toast or a salad, stir it into pasta, even toss some root vegetables in it and roast them. And of course, there’s a plethora of Mexican dishes you can add it to for some extra mojo at the dinner table.
So here it is, Rick Bayless’s incredible Mojo de Ajo, which I used today to spice up an extra-special dish of penne with herbs and roasted mushrooms. It was worth firing up the oven on a near-100-degree day.
- 4 heads of garlic, peeled (place a large chef's knife on each pod of garlic and smack it with the heel of your hand to get the papery skin off more easily)
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup lemon juice
- Place the garlic in an 8-inch-square glass baking dish and pour the olive oil over it. Add salt and stir well.
- Place the dish in a 325-degree oven and bake 45 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and bake for another 20 minutes for the flavors to infuse.
- Remove, mash the garlic with a fork or potato masher, cool, and pour it all into an air-tight glass jar. The mojo de ajo keeps for at least three months in a refrigerator.
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