Mojo Cubano: The Most Garlic You’ve Ever Eaten
When you love something, really love something, you can never have enough. I feel this way about a lot of things — primarily food and alcohol-related, of course — and I definitely feel this way about garlic. So I was obviously thrilled when my friend, Vanessa, who was giving me a Cuban cooking lesson (! best night ever, and there are more recipes where that came from) mentioned, “You like garlic, right? I bought plantain chips and I really wanted to make this dipping sauce for them…it’s basically just pure garlic and it’s one of my favorites.”
Turns out this is one of the easiest recipes ever, and yeah, it does pack a punch. If you’re one of those people who is averse to “smelling like garlic” (personally, I never understood those people) this is probably not the snack for you. I’ve been cruising the Cuban recipe sites (normal) and it looks like many of them use a version of this as a marinade or sauce for all kinds of dishes. Whatever, we like this as a straight-up dip for our fried plantains. Hardcore eaters.
Mojo Cubano Dip
A LOT of garlic — about 4 heads, or 40 cloves. You read that correctly; not 4, 40.
A LOT of good olive oil
Salt & pepper
First of all, preheat your over to 325°F.
Well, now it’s time to go Rumplestiltskin-mode on this garlic. Instead of spinning straw into gold, you’ve gotta turn about 40 whole cloves into a nice, peeled, minced pile. It seems daunting, but you can get through it.
When you’re all finished spinning your garlic into gold — or, garlic cloves into teensy pieces of garlic as the case may be, it will be glorious. It should look something like this:
See that garlic press sitting in the background? Forget about it. Useless. Just chop forever with your knife.
Once you have your mounds of garlic ready, dump them into a shallow baking dish. Cover them with the olive oil. I don’t have an exact amount for you, just make sure it’s all the way covered, or else the garlic will burn. After you’ve covered the garlic in oil, add salt and pepper. You can sprinkle in more to taste later.
Stick the pan in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Peek in a few times to make sure the garlic isn’t burning.
After you remove the dip, let it cool for just a few minutes, then add a healthy dose of lime juice. Some other Cuban recipes I looked at called for sour orange juice, but we didn’t have that here, and Vanessa’s family has always just used lime, so I’m sticking to that.
Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and lime as necessary. Pour into a bowl. Serve with delicious plantain chips, which you can find in the “ethnic food” section of most grocery stores, or maybe also in the chip aisle, and of course at any Hispanic market.
Now, enjoy! Try not to dwell on the fact that you’re basically eating straight olive oil as a dip. It’s good for your heart.