Yuca is one of the most delicious and readily available exotic vegetables.
Picking good Yuca means looking for unblemished firm flesh without any soft spots or moldy parts. All fresh Yuca has been waxed so it is essential to peel the root, like you would a potato.
STEP ONE: CUT AND PEEL. I like to first cut off the ends and then I cut the root in half giving me a flat surface from which I can then easily slide the knife from top to bottom thinly removing the waxy-flesh and thin skin.
STEP TWO: CHUNK AND REMOVE CENTER STEM. Yuca has a thin vein that runs through the heart and can be easily removed as it is visibly darker in color and thicker in texture. STEP THREE: STEAM. Take the chunks and place into your steamer cooking for about 30 minutes till the yucca takes on sheen.
STEP FOUR: PREP THE MOJO
Mojo is a Cuban lemon-garlic sauce that is poured over the hot steamed yucca. I like to prep my garlic and keep it in a jar of olive oil so I always have raw, fresh organic garlic in pure olive oil. It’s so much cheaper without water or chemical preservatives.
- 6 – 8 cloves of garlic peeled
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 small onion very thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon AND lime juice
- ½ cup virgin Spanish oil
Using a mortar and pestle smash the cloves of garlic then add the salt. You can use a food processor but nothing beats a mortar and pestle for bringing up garlics rich flavor.
Transfer the garlic ‘paste’ to an oven safe bowl (or leave in pestle), add the onion and juices, let sit for 20 minutes, heat the olive oil (in a skillet) until hot but not smoking and add to the garlic mixture. USE CAUTION AS THE OIL WILL SPLASH BACK, stir and pour over still hot yucca so that the yucca soaks up the flavors.
RECIPE: YUCA CON MOJO
- 4 medium size tubers, peeled, cut in half and then into quarters
- 1 recipe mojo
In a steamer, cook the yuca until tender, about 30 minutes till a fork inserted in the center comes up soft, like a potato. Drain and place in a shallow platter pouring the hot mojo onto the still hot yuca, serve immediately.
Serves six to eight people as a side dish.