Yucca Cakes

ImageYucca Cakes with Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Mother Nature has an interesting sense of humor.  She dots our planet with gorgeous creatures that are venomous, yet makes some of the tastiest produce repulsive looking.

This happens to be the case with the yucca (pronounced Yoo-ka).  This long brown tuber resembles a thick tree limb with a light coating of wax on it (to preserve it in shipping).  The inside reveals an off-white flesh similar to that of a potato.  The origin of this root, also known as cassava or manioc, starts in South America and Cuba but has now become a common staple of African cuisine.

The yucca is a multitasker when it comes to cooking.  Used as the thickening agent in tapioca, it is also used to make manioc flour (found in the organics section of the grocery store), baked, fried, and boiled.  Its bland extreme lack of flavor makes it the perfect blank canvas for other ingredients to shine.  Preparation of this vegetable is really rather easy, simply peel the bark and pink flesh off and prepare as you would a potato.  When purchasing, look for ones that have a firm feel and no soft spots.  It is best to store them as you would potatoes or peel and store in a bowl of water refrigerated for up to two days.

This recipe is a base and is similar to that of a potato latke without the flour.  If you add a bit of finely diced ham, red onion, and Swiss cheese, it makes the perfect light summer meal or interesting appetizer.  Prepared just as it is, it is the ideal base for a topping as an appetizer.

Yucca Cakes with Sour Cream and Onion Dip

2 lbs. yucca (approximately 2 tubers), peeled and cut into chunks

6 cloves of garlic

6Tbsp. onion

1Tsp. chili powder or cayenne

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tsp. baking powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable oil for frying

16 oz. Sour Cream and Onion dip (optional)

1. Place first nine ingredients in a food processor or blender.  Pulse until the mixture is semi smooth, resembling finely chopped coleslaw.

2. Heat enough oil in the bottom of frying pan to cover about one inch deep.  Drop small spoonful’s into oil for appetizer sized servings or large spoonful’s for full serving sizes.  Fry until light golden on one side, then flip and continue to fry until golden on the other side.  Place on paper towels to drain and lightly salt.

3. Serve with Sour Cream and Onion dip.

This will serve four as a main meal or makes about 50 appetizer portions.

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