Mexico - One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless

Liquid Gold

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Rick and his daughter, Lanie, check out a fabulous fish fillet at a neighborhood restaurant in Mexico City, and then, at a seafood street stall, they get rapturous over a plate of succulent garlicky prawns that rivals the best scampi in the world. The common denominator of these two dishes? It's one of the cornerstones of Mexican cooking, Mojo de Ajo (literally, "bath of garlic") - a sauce made by slowly simmering garlic in olive oil and seasoning it with lime and chiles. Back home in Chicago, Rick shows us how he plants, grows and cures this flavorful garlic variety, then uses some to make a big batch of Mojo de Ajo - a jar of "liquid gold" to keep on hand for enhancing just about anything. First, he uses some of it to make Mixiotes of Woodland Mushrooms with Slow-Cook Garlic and Mexican Herbs, bathed in mojo and baked in parchment. Then Lanie uses a little more to make her favorite snack, fresh-popped Garlicky Popcorn with Mexican Queso Anejo "buttered" with mojo and sprinkled with chile powder. Now it's Rick's turn to whip up a quick Seared Fish Fillets in Fruity, Nutty, Garlicky Mojo. And finally, Lanie helps him make a favorite family specialty: Garlicky Linguine with Seared Shrimp, Chipotle and Mexican Aged Cheese. It all adds up to this: a splash of mojo de ajo can be the Midas touch that turns just about any ingredient into culinary gold.

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