You probably know this already but the Pistachio Mole Sauce I present today is neither comprised of nor an homage to a rodent. Mole (pronounced moh-LAY) is, however, possibly the most talked-about but least understood of Mexico’s regional dishes. This is because the term mole is more general than most people believe it to be. American aficionados of Mexican food may know the traditional poblano version as an amazingly flavorful, deeply complex dish often compared to chocolate. But to my palate, mole is a much more intriguing mosaic of flavors and is as individual as any of the cooks who struggle to define its complex features.
I’ve traveled through Mexico quite a bit and I dine in as many hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants here in Los Angeles as I can find. So I understand the diversity of Mexican cuisine fairly well. Still, I struggle to define exactly what makes a mole a mole. One popular food writer I read defines mole as a “thick, dark sauce”. But I’ve sampled enough of them to know that, in fact, mole is often neither dark nor particularly thick. A mole can be anything from traditionally dark brown to brightly colored with green, red, yellow and black moles each claiming aficionados in different regions. Meaning the poblano version, though delicious, is by no means the only and the holiest of all mole.
So what about a tomatillo and pistachio mole?
Well, generally speaking, a mole sauce contains fruit, chili pepper, nuts, and fragrant spices – exactly the formula I followed for this non-traditional (read easy to make) pistachio mole. Because the truth is I am not brave enough nor athletic enough, to attempt to make a traditional mole poblano from scratch. It’s an arduous process of seeding, roasting, drying, grinding, mixing, tasting and waiting. Too many steps to go into here. GREG
PS: The original mole, which is thought to come from the Aztec word