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If you’ve never watched Mexico One Plate at a Time on PBS or Top Chef masters, you may not know about Rick Bayless.  And if so, (sorry), but shame on you!  When I heard about a chef bringing Mexican cuisine past tacos and cheap Americanized crap versions of good food, I fell in love.

One of the first episodes we saw was about Mojo de Ajo, also known as liquid gold. So simple, versitile and delicious.  Official recipe here: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=244

Liquid Gold

Do yourself a favor and make it:

  • Smash up a bunch of garlic (I use at least 2 heads at a time).
  • Put in an 8×8 Pyrex, season with salt and cover with extra virgin olive oil (mine comes from Trader Joe’s).
  • Roast at 350 for about 35-45 mins until garlic starts to turn golden.
  • Squeeze the juice of a couple limes and bake about 10 mins longer.  That is it!!

[On a side note, make this: http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/view?recipeID=248]

This stuff is amazing with seafood and vegetables.  Last night, it played very well with squash rings and asparagus. 

Mojo de Ajo Asparagus

With asparagus (and most other vegetables), simply prepare them the way you normally would, but just put some mojo de ajo on there and it tastes amazing.  That tiny hint of lime with the garlic oil adds a TON of flavor.  Meats are a little too strong so I don’t recommend cooking meat and mojo together.

I took rings of delicata squash (easier than it looks: rinse squash, cut into rings, and use a knife to dig out the seeds), set them on foil (just like the asparagus) and filled them with mojo.  Make sure to rub the flesh with the oil so the flavor gets in there.

Timing was a bit of a pain in the ass on this one- chicken thighs, asparagus and squash all have different cooking times, but we made it work.

The chicken thighs had been marinating in chipoltle for a couple of days for maximum flavor.  Throw these in the oven first (375 degrees F) for about 20 minutes.  I love dark meat because it tastes better, and doesn’t dry out like the white meat does.

Not pretty, but you get the point...

 Next add the squash rings.  We had these in there for about 10 minutes before we added the asparagus, which went for an additional 10 minutes.  Have I lost you yet?

Asparagus & Squash Rings a la Mojo de Ajo

Once you put it all together, its a crazy delicious mix of flavor.  The mojo and squash rings were amazing- this was my first attempt at using rings instead of scooping and mashing squash. Delicata is one of my favorite squashes- it is just two servings (perfect for our home!) and so sweet and delicious it doesn’t even *need* butter.