Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh The Places You'll Go

This Once A Week Vegan adventure has me searching for ingredients in corners of my market, my city and my county I’ve never been. This week the search was for Yuca or Yucca. Yuca is also known as cassava or manioc root. Did I just say maniac? No. But don’t let a maniac near one. It’s heavy and would be a great mystery weapon in a suspense novel. Beat him over the head with a Yucca Root, then cook up the evidence. Forensic scientists would test the fragments left in the victims hair and say, “It’s something waxed.” Yup. They waxed this vegetable. Why do they do that?

Yucca is hard to cut through, so get out your big knife. I found this video to help me with this part of the process. The meat of the yucca is pure white. The texture is like a turnip, sorta. Raw it tastes like a sweet starchy potato. The cooked yucca is hard to describe. It pulls apart like string cheese, it’s mashable or it holds it’s shape.

I modified a recipe in Veganomicon by Moskowitz and Romero. They call their recipe Grilled Yuca Tortillas. I’m going to call mine:

Yucca - Black Bean Corn Tortilla Quesadilla
This recipe makes two Quesadillas

½ C cooked Yucca

1 Tbls olive oil
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp jalapeño pepper
1 Tbls red pepper
1 diced tomatillo (4 Tbls)

¼ C black beans
1 Tbls chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper

4 corn tortillas

Begin by cooking the Yucca. I cooked the whole root and used only a little for this recipe. The rest will go into stew or soup or mashed for other meals. Peel, chop into chunks and cook the yucca like you would cook a potato, in boiling water. I did not add salt to the water. Drain, cool.

Now sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the peppers and cook another 6 minutes, add the tomatillos and cook another 4 minutes. Don’t worry if the tomatillos have made the vegetables a little ‘wet’, it will help in the mashing that happens next. Cool a little.

Put the Yucca, cilantro and black beans into a bowl. Pour the cooled, cooked vegetables over the yucca mixture, a little salt and pepper and dig in with your hands. Mash everything together. The yucca may need some individual attention in this process. You are finished mashing when everything is about the consistency of a lumpy mashed potato.

Lay 2 corn tortillas on a cutting board. Divide the yucca mix between the tortillas and spread the mixture to the edges of each tortilla. Put a tortilla on top (like a sandwich).

Heat a non-stick skillet over med high heat.

Brush the top of each quesadilla with olive oil and fry it in the skillet for about 4 minutes, until crisp and browned, then brush olive oil on the top side and flip them over to crisp and brown that side.

Lift onto a cutting board and allow to cool a little. Then cut each quesadilla into quarters.

Serve hot with pico de gallo and guacamole for dipping, a salad and a margarita. Rain? I forgot all about the rain.

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