Yuca is the root of the cassava plant, and it is a staple in Cuban and Caribbean cuisines. The thick, rough outer layer must be peeled, but inside is white flesh that can be boiled and served similar to potatoes.
The yuca’s mild and slightly nutty flavor is delicious when prepared like french fries—or in this case, a slightly healthier baked version.
You can find yuca in the produce section of most major grocery stores, like Whole Foods and Albertsons, or at local Latin markets.
2 pounds fresh yuca
1¼ teaspoons salt
½ cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon pepper
1. Use a potato peeler to peel the yuca. Once the tough skin has been removed, cut the flesh into thick fries.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil seasoned with 1 teaspoon of the salt.
3. Drop the yuca pieces into the boiling water. Blanch for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are just beginning to become tender.
4. Drain. Run the yuca under cold water to prevent them from overcooking.
5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil.
6. Pat the yuca dry and place in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil, remaining salt and pepper.
7. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake 20-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes to make sure they cook evenly.
8. The fries are ready when they are golden and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Serve immediately.
This article was originally published in the September 2022 issue of 225 magazine.