International Recipes and Cooking Around the World

Mojo Isleño

Red snapper fish

(Puerto Rican fish with tomato-olive sauce)

Image © iStockphoto

Average: 4 (3 votes)

Mojo isleño is a popular way to prepare fish in Puerto Rico. It's name can be translated as "islander sauce," and its components--olives, peppers, garlic and bay leaves--are typically Puerto Rican.

4 to 6 servings


  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Onion, chopped -- 1
  • Bell pepper, chopped -- 1
  • Garlic, minced -- 4-6 cloves
  • Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced -- 2 cups
  • Red wine vinegar -- 2 tablespoons
  • Green olives, pitted -- 1/4 cup
  • Capers, rinsed -- 1 tablespoon
  • Bay leaf -- 1 or 2
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste
  • Olive oil -- 1/4 cup
  • Fish fillets, cut in serving size -- 2 pounds
  • Salt and pepper -- to taste


  1. Heat the first 1/4 cup olive oil in a saucepan over medium flame. Add the onions and peppers and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, vinegar, olives, capers, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until somewhat reduced.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a sauté pan over medium high flame. Season the fish with salt and pepper and sauté on both sides until both sides are lightly browned.
  4. Pour the prepared sauce over the fish and simmer until the fish is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.


  • Use other seafood like shrimp or scallops in place of the fish.
  • Substitute pimentos for the chopped bell pepper. Add at the same time as the tomatoes.
  • Marinate the fish in some minced garlic and lime juice before sautéing if you like.
  • The fish can also be grilled and the sauce served on the side.


Island sauce!!!!

This recipe calls for "fish". What type?. Sole, cod, flounder etc. will break up very easily once it has been cooked.
You could not saute' this fish. suggestions in consideration of a menu for my guests who are Puerto Rican. I am a Chef and I host Sweet 16 parties and Weddings. I want to be authentic.
Thankyou for any help you may give me.

Actually all the fish you mention are perfectly fine for sauteing. (Think sole meunière.) Sole and flounder are delicate, but that just means you use a delicate hand.

If you are cooking for large crowds though, a sturdier fish is a good idea. Cod is actually such a fish, either true cod or rock cod. Any type of firm, white-fleshed fish would do really. A common fish for catering chefs to use in a recipe like this is red snapper. Snapper is a common fish in the Caribbean, so it also fits the authenticity requirement.

The fish I have been told is used is snapper.

Marcel you could use any kind of fish that you could imagine. Lobsters, Blue Marlin, Shark you mane it and you could use it on. Most of the time we use it on Pargo or Mero Cabrilla(Spotted grouper snapper)

Is am island top sauce ,you could top any kind of fry fish with it is delicious