This Christmas we decided to combine the best parts of traditional Cuban and American cuisine for our big dinner. While the flavors ended up working perfectly with one another, one dish was such an unexpected hit with everyone that we've decided to make it again for our New Year's Eve Party.
Though it was originally served as a plated side dish, Yuca Frita is an excellent finger food as well. We can vouch for this fact as we happened to see several party guests congregating around the serving platter in the kitchen and helping themselves. We were bombarded for the recipe.
Yuca (also called cassava root) is a starchy root vegetable used often in Latin cooking. The flavors and textures are soft and mild, reminiscent of a russet potato. It looks almost like the trunk of a small tree, and its skin is as tough as tree bark. Our recommendation is to buy the frozen yucca that has already been peeled, unless of course whittling sticks is a hobby of yours. We found big, inexpensive bags of it in the Latin section of the freezer case at our local Kroger.
The recipe, after the jump.
Yuca Frita con Mojo
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Gently add the frozen yuca. Boil until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.
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When cool enough to handle, cut the yuca into big chunks that look almost like fat steak fries. Remove any fibrous centers.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Generously coat the bottom with olive oil (vegetable oil is fine, too, in a pinch). Melt the butter into the oil.
Add the yuca to the pan and cook until brown on most sides. This step usually takes about 15 minutes of turning and burning to get a good browning on all the pieces. Meanwhile, make a paste with the garlic, salt, and a about a tablespoon of olive oil using a mortar and pestle or some similar tool. Add the juice of the limes and mix it all up. This is the mojo.
Once the Yuca is browned, arrange it on a serving plate and dredge it with the mojo. Salt to taste, sprinkle on the chopped fresh parsley, and add some lime wedges for garnish.