Tonight’s experimental dinner consisted of Peruvian roast chicken and fried yuca with spicy mayo. The chicken was unremarkable, but the fried yuca was fabulous. I was very nervous preparing it for dinner as the tuber contains hydrogen cyanide and it must be prepared carefully and correctly to avoid poisoning (Yuca must be boiled to release cyanide into the cooking water).
It’s been an hour since we sat down at the table and I’m not feeling any cyanide side effects so I think I did alright. Recipe below, adapted from Gourmet Magazine.
- 1 T feta cheese, crumbled fine
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 jalepeno, pureed in food processor
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 lime
- 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Arizona Dreaming seasoning
- 1 large fresh yuca (cassava)
- About 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
Trim ends of yuca and cut crosswise half, then peel, removing waxy brown skin and pinkish layer underneath.
Cover yuca with cold salted water by 1 inch in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until yuca is tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes. Drain and rinse. Transfer with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels to drain further, then cool 5 minutes. Cut yuca lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide wedges, discarding thin woody core. (If there are pieces that have white parts to them, return them to barely simmering water and simmer until almost translucent.)
Heat about 1 1/2 inches oil in heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 360°F on thermometer.
Fry yuca, turning occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Sprinkle fries with salt and serve with cheese sauce.