This iconic pink mole created by Chef Fernanda Serrano — The Chef from elNico at Penny Williamsburg — based on a mole from the city of Taxco in Guerrero, Mexico. Serrano’s version is a sesame beet maw with sliced beets, fennel, pine nuts, kumquats and habanero kosho.
Speaking to Salon Food, Serrano described the dish as “fresh” and “light…yet so full of flavor without being overwhelming.” She adds that she wanted to create “a pink vegan mole where, rather than protein, beets are the main ingredient of the dish,” based on the flavors of a salad she ate while on vacation in Greece.
While some may think that making moles is a serious business and can’t be done right at home, that would be wrong. Despite having multiple ingredients, it is a very simple dish. The hardest part for most will probably be sourcing some of the ingredients! Actually, the dish is more of an assembly than a cooking process.
Follow these steps and you will be amazed at the result.
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“Pink Mole” by Chef Fernanda Serrano
For mole base:
1 cup tahini
2 tablespoons beet powder
1 gutted habanero
1 cup lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
½ teaspoon toasted cumin
1 ½ cups water
For roasted turnips:
8 beets, trimmed
For kumquat habanero kosho:
4 habanero, pitted
4 cups kumquat, seeded
zest of 4 lemons
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup fennel, thinly shaved/sliced
3 pieces of shiso leaves
5 pieces of fennel tips
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
- For mole base: Mix all ingredients in a Vitamix. Be sure to mix all the ingredients thoroughly and check the consistency and color again. It should have a creamy consistency without being runny. If needed, add more water if too thick or beet powder for color.
- For roasted turnips: Preheat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the bottom of a deep sheet pan with a layer of kosher salt. Place the clean beets on the salt and cover the pan with aluminum foil. Place the pan in the oven for 35 minutes.
- When you’re done, check if the beets are done by sticking a cake tester in the beets and letting them slightly overrun. Add 5 minutes each time if needed. Keep in mind that the beets will continue to cook once you remove them from the oven. They should still be firm to the touch (a sign you haven’t overcooked!).
- Let cool and peel beets. Slice thinly with a knife or mandolin.
- For kumquat habanero kosho: In a Vitamix, blend all ingredients and habanero until very smooth. Emulsify with olive oil, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil at a time. The mixture should blend easily and be smooth.
- For final assembly: On a larger serving dish, place 2 tablespoons of pink mole on a plate and spread in a circle.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the shaved fennel with the kosher salt and lemon juice. Shape into a ball and place in the center of the mole sauce.
- Form small parachute-like shapes from the thin beet slices, put a layer of kosho on top and spread the fennel balls and the sauce on top. (You’ll want to hide the fennel and sauce under the beets).
- Once the batter is covered, sprinkle the pine nuts over the batter. Then put the shiso leaves in and Wrap the fennel tips around the beets and drizzle with olive oil and Maldon salt. Serve and enjoy.
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