Yuca, also known as cassava, is a starchy, tubular root vegetable native to Central and South America. It has a brown, waxy exterior and a white fleshy interior. If you notice black lines throughout the interior, throw it away. It should be pure white. Yuca doesn’t store too well, so try to use it within a few days of purchase.
It is also very important that it’s cooked properly and not eaten raw. Yuca does contain hydrocyanic acid (HCN), which can make you very sick. All you have to do is make sure you remove all of the outer, waxy layer, and the light pinkish layer underneath, then boil for 20 minutes.
I first tried yuca in fry form while in Costa Rica. The most memorable experience I had eating it was at a tiny restaurant/craft brewery. The chef was holding it in the air with one hand and peeling it with a giant chef’s knife with the other hand like it was no big deal. It was like watching an artist work on a masterpiece. When the dish arrived, it was garnished with parsley, finely minced raw garlic, and salt. It really only needs simple seasoning to taste good. The raw garlic gave it a nice sharp bite.
Fact: Once you try yuca, you’ll forget potatoes even exist.
- 2 medium sized Yuca
- 2-4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 – 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1-2 cloves finely minced Garlic (optional)
- Few sprigs of Fresh Parsley, chopped
- Remove the outer waxy layer and pink flesh underneath using a vegetable peeler. Another method is cutting the yuca into quarters, placing the flat end on the cutting board and cutting downwards.
- Cut into fry shapes and cook in a pot of salted, boiling water for 15-20 minutes.
- Strain the yuca into a colander and rinse with cold water
- Toss the yuca and oil in a bowl and bake in a 350° oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Flip fries, then bake another 10 minutes or until browned and crispy.
- Remove from oven and toss in a bowl with seasoning immediately. Adjust to taste. Serve warm.