Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | December 2008
|The Irreverent Chef: Yucca... Yumma!|
Liana Turner - PVNN
Yucca used to be largely unknown outside of many parts of the world, but now it seems to be coming into the mainstream. For that we can thank the people who make those fantastic vegetable chips, which are a colorful and flavorful alternative to the boring and greasy potato chip. You know the ones... they use different roots like sweet potato, taro, parsnip and, of course, yucca (Yuca in Spanish.) The yucca chips are the ones that have short dark lines running through them.
|Yucca root is similar to regular potatoes, but it is about 13 inches long, a little more starchy and slightly sweet.|
Yucca root is similar to our regular potatoes, but a little more starchy and slightly sweet. They can be used just about the same way you use a potato, but usually are boiled before using other methods, such as frying or baking.
Also known as Cassava or Manioc, yucca can be substituted for potatoes in soups and stews. It contains a high amount of vitamin C and carbohydrates. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, and has a pleasant flavor and texture.
According to FoodReference.com:
Yucca Serving Size (52g)
Amounts Per Serving - % Daily Value*
Calories from Fat: 0
Total Fat: 0g - 0%
Sodium: 5mg - 0%
Cholesterol: 0 mg - 0%
Total Carbohydrate: 20g - 7%
Dietary Fiber: 1g - 4%
Vitamin A - 0%
Vitamin C - 20%
Calcium - 0%
Iron - 0%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
I have been buying yucca here in Vallarta at the Soriana Playa de Oro (near the cruise ship terminal.) It is also becoming more available in stores in the US as well.
If you are going to boil yucca for a recipe, first peel it, and then cut in half lengthwise and cut into manageable lengths. This will give you easy access to the center fiber, which is inedible because it is so tough, and must be pulled out after cooking.
I am on a mission to try as many yucca recipes as I can find, but also you can do to yucca whatever you normally do to potatoes for a refreshing change. Yucca is a little firmer and doesn't break down as easily or quickly as potatoes.
Yuca con Mojo de Ajo (Yucca with Garlic and Citrus)
Place in a saucepan and cover with salted water:
1 1/2 pounds yucca, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and in 3 inch lengths.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes. Drain.
When the yucca has cooled enough to handle, remove the stringy fiber that runs down the middle of each piece.
Put yucca in a baking dish and keep warm.
To a hot sauté pan add:
1/4 cup olive oil
8 (or more) garlic cloves, minced
One white onion, minced
Once the garlic just begins to brown, add 1/3 cup fresh lemon or lime juice (you can also use part or all orange or mandarine juice for a twist)
Cook for one minute more to heat completely and pour over the yucca in the serving dish and toss. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees F to let flavors "set" and brown slightly.
Slice as thinly as possible with a sharp knife, mandolin or food processor with thin blade.
Soak slices in salted water for 5 minutes and rinse well to remove excess starches.
Dry well on paper or cotton towels.
When they are completely dry, deep fry in hot oil (peanut oil is best if you can find it and afford it) until golden brown. Just try putting in a few pieces at a time to see how many you can handle at once. Then you can add more.
Place on paper towels to drain.
Season with kosher or sea salt.
Alternative sprinkles: Ancho chile powder, cumin, wasabi powder... have some fun!
The Irreverent Chef, a.k.a. Liana Turner, is the chef and owner of Paradise Bakery and Catering. Serving the "Best Cinnamon Rolls in Vallarta," along with delicious sandwiches, salads, main dishes and yummy sweet treats every day but Sunday, and providing all styles of catering services, from pre-prepared meals to-go for informal gatherings to full service elegance for dinners, cocktail parties, wedding receptions and special events, Paradise Bakery & Catering is located at Sierra Aconcagua 299, Prolongacion Brasil, Colonia Lazaro Cardenas, Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-5133 or visit VallartaCatering.com.
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