Mole is on the Way
With authentic Mexican flavors trending upward this year, it’s time to talk about the diversity of Mexican mole. What’s mole? Literally, it just means sauce, but in reality, it’s much more.
Mole includes a variety of complex, rich sauces combining spicy, savory, sweet, and smoky flavors into a luxurious liquid that can transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Most commonly you’ll run into mole negro, a dark variety made with several chilies, fire roasted vegetables, and aromatic Mexican chocolate.
But mole negro only scratches the surfaces of the abundant possibilities. And while mole is only in the inception stage of the menu adoption cycle, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth understanding.
Restaurants across the nation are finding unique ways to use moles on their menus, and it’s only a matter of time before the larger population gets wind of these amazing sauces.
Mole on the Menu
Chef Kumar at Bar Sótano has an amazing take on with his Roasted Vegetables in Mole Poblano. This dish features roasted mushrooms, cauliflower, and squash swimming in a smoky sauce made with mulato, pasilla, and ancho chilies.
It also features a variety of nuts, charred onions, Mexican chocolate, and warm spices to create a complex yet easy to enjoy marriage of flavors. This is a can’t miss dish in Chicago.
At Long Beach, CA’s El Torito, Chef Pepe Lope is wowing palates with the Tamal Oaxaqueno with Mole Coloradito. This dish features a sweet corn cake, chicken tamal, and cooked black beans with a generous serving of mole coloradito.
This sauce is a warm blend of guajillo and ancho chilies with mulling spices, starchy plantains, sweet raisins, and aromatic epazote blended into silky smooth perfection. We suggest you ask for a spoon, because there’s no way you’re going to leave any of this deliciousness behind.
In my favorite take on this sauce, Chef Zarela Martinez steals my heart with her tangy, herbaceous mole verde. This sauce combines ripe tomatillos with jalapenos, savory pork stock, a variety of herbs and spices, and (in a genius move) hoja santa leaves.
The result is a bright, citrusy, and utterly unique flavor profile impossible to replicate. It’s a perfect pairing with her dry-rubbed poached black sea bass.
Our final entry comes from the duo of Mataio Gillis and Chef Kraig Halterman of Ciaò Thyme in Bellingham, WA. Their Blueberry Beet Mole sets a new standard for culinary fusion.
It’s a fearless blend of blueberries, chipotle chiles, warm spices, cocoa powder, and pureed beets. Finished with blueberry vinaigrette, it’s a masterful match for their braised lamb shank. This truly raises the bar of possibilities.
Get Ready for the Next Era of Sauces
Complexity, richness, and authenticity will define a new era of sauces. And while mole may not be the sauce of today, it just might be the sauce of tomorrow. So be prepared to hit the ground running on this unique sauce trend.