Cuba Meets the Canaries
Cuba meets the Canary Islands in this fusion of prawns in a deliciously citrus Cuban mojo sauce with tomato and asparagus served with al dente linguine.
Mojo (pronounced “moh ho”) sauces originated in the Canary Islands with a base of garlic, chilli and paprika or coriander to form the classic red and green sauces.
Anyone who has been on holiday to the Canaries will have at some point had Papas Arrugadas. These are the locally grown potatoes cooked until their skins wrinkle, served with red mojo sauce.
The Spanish influence can be seen and felt all over South America and the Caribbean. The Cubans have their own version of mojo, used in this recipe, which has the citrus flavours of orange and lime.
You can easily buy a good quality Canarian style mojo sauce, I get mine from Brindisa in London’s Borough Market by the Thames. But for authenticity make your own, you can’t beat those fresh citrus flavours!
Choose Your Prawns
I use raw shell-on jumbo prawns and prepare them myself, removing the heads, shells and de-veining. If you don’t fancy doing this yourself buy ready-prepared prawns.
It’s not difficult, after removing the head and shell, run a sharp paring knife down the back of the prawn and remove the dark vein. Although we call it de-veining it’s not a vein at all but the digestive tract and although not dangerous to eat, it has been known to cause stomach upsets.
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Here’s the Recipe …
Cuban Mojo Prawns with Pasta
For the Mojo Sauce:
- 200 ml White Wine
- 6 cloves Garlic
- ½ tsp Salt
- 50 ml Olive Oil
- 1 Freshly Squeezed Orange and zest
- 3 Freshly Squeezed Limes and zest
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- Pinch Ground Black Pepper
For the Prawns
- 200 g Dried Linguine
- 170 g Raw Jumbo Prawns
- 1 Red Chilli Pepper halved, deseeded and finely sliced
- 150 g Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 100 g Asparagus Spears chopped into 1cm pieces
- 60 ml Single Cream
To Make the Mojo Sauce:
- Start by crushing the garlic into a pestle & mortar then pound with the salt until it becomes a paste.
- Add the oil, orange and lime juice, oregano, cumin and chilli and stir together with a pinch of black pepper.
To Make the Prawns:
- Put on a large pan of salted water to boil for the linguine.
- Pour the wine into a saute pan and heat until it has reduced by half. While it is reducing, prepare the vegetables. Once the wine is reduced, remove and put to one side.
- Add the linguine to the salted boiling water and cook as per packet instructions.
- Add the mojo sauce to the pan, and once it starts to simmer, add the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are pink, turning them over halfway.
- Add the tomatoes and the asparagus and fry for a further 3 minutes. Add the reduced white wine and stir it into the prawn and vegetable sauce.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream gently.
- Drain the pasta reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Add the pasta to the sauce along with the reserved cooking water and mix well.
- Serve immediately.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between Canarian and Cuban red mojo sauce?
Original Canarian mojo is chilli and paprika based whereas Cuban mojo has more citrus flavours.