Yuca Salad Revisited – You May Never Make Potato Salad Again

5 Dec

There is no better big-dinner, buffet, picnic, or other party dish in my arsenal than Yuca Salad (aka ensalada de yuca, yuca en escabeche). None. I kid you not.

Pimiento-stuffed olives

Pimiento-stuffed olives

It is easy, has big flavor, is unusual, goes with everything, is portable, and very cheap…it is even vegan, but no one has to know until they’ve tried it. I have served it to pretty much everyone I have ever cooked for (and if I haven’t done it for you yet, it is just a matter of time) and gotten rave reviews every time.

They don't always cook all the way through during the boil, but if you get them most of the way there, they will finish as they are cooling.

They don’t always cook all the way through during the boil, but if you get them most of the way there, they will finish as they are cooling.

With the holiday season coming, this is something you should have in your arsenal too. Frozen yuca is available by the Goya products in the frozen food aisle of many mainstream supermarkets. I rarely use fresh, because then I have to do it right away and the peeling thing is kind of a pain. But if there is sufficient clamor for a recipe with fresh, I will be happy to oblige…

Yuca (Manihot esculenta) is a storied root vegetable, native to the New World. There is more than one variety and one of those is poisonous with high levels of cyanide; the native Taínos of the Caribbean Islands tipped the points of their hunting arrows with its toxic juice, but they also ate the yuca after squeezing and draining. Don’t worry; you won’t get poisoned by today’s supermarket version, but do NOT eat it raw! (For more on yuca and other Caribbean staples get my digital dictionary Eat Your Way Though Puerto Rico on Kindle or iTunes.)

This one came out pale and pretty

This one came out pale and pretty

The following recipe is a tweak from my previous one (a post that continues to get loads of visitors a day). It is very forgiving and will bear a bit more of this and less of that according to your tastes. We just had it for my parents’ annual Christmas cocktail party and it was a real success.

This version - with more roasted red pepper -- is more colorful! Play around with the proportions!

This version – with more roasted red pepper — is more colorful! Play around with the proportions!

Natalia’s Ensalada de yuca/Yuca Salad

2.5 lb frozen yuca

1 Cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Cup onion, sliced in thin rounds (red onion preferred)

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbs roasted red pepper, chopped (drained from a jar is fine and if you haven’t got, just use more pimiento-stuffed olives)

1 Tbs capers

20 pimiento stuffed green olives, sliced into thick rings

(2 Tbs olive brine reserved)

1/4 Cup white vinegar

Bring about 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add yuca (you want the yuca covered completely). Reduce heat to a simmer, but keep the boil on for 15-20 minutes. The yuca should lose most of its chalky whiteness and darken to yellow. The pieces will start to split and you can help them along to check insides for doneness. When done, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside to cool until handle-able

While the yuca cooks, heat the oil in a sauce pan until very liquid. Add onions and cook at medium high until wilted and becoming translucent. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for five to ten minutes while you attend to the yuca.

The yuca will have a thick inner fibrous thread which must be removed (it will practically fall out by itself). Then slice the yuca into 1” by ½” slices (just like potatoes for potato salad) into a bowl. You will notice its density and starchiness! Add vinaigrette, mix well and serve. It can be kept in the fridge a few days, but must be brought to room temperature before serving.

You May Also Like:

Pastelón de Yuca (Puerto Rican Shepherd’s Pie)

Yuca en Escabeche : the original post

Arroz con pollo (Puerto Rican-style chicken and rice)

Advertisements

18 Responses to “Yuca Salad Revisited – You May Never Make Potato Salad Again”

  1. Ana May 27, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

    Buenisima la probe. Deliciosa!

  2. Bluejellybeans December 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    ¡Que rico Natalia! Me encanta la yuca 🙂

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

      ¡Gracias! ¿Lo consigues por allá?

      • Bluejellybeans December 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

        ¡Si, si! Aquí es bastante común, no muy barata, pero fácil de encontrar. De hecho, tengo varias recetas publicadas con yuca 🙂

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

        Dime cuales para darte un reblog…o intentarlas yo!

  3. Conor Bofin December 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

    I’m with Mad Dog here. Why did Columbus bring the potato and leave the yuca?
    Love the reference to vegan.
    Best,
    Conor

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

      We ARE talking about the same gentleman who thought he had found the Western Passage to India. In fact, we call capsicum “peppers” in large part because of him. And Native Americans are called Indians because of him. And my family are called West Indians because of him…so a certain lack of discernment is his M.O.!!!!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 6, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

      Or maybe he just had it in for the Irish?

  4. Mad Dog December 6, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    I think potato salad is safe in Europe – Christopher Columbus and Walter Raleigh haven’t discovered the yuca. Shame, your salad sounds good 🙂

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 6, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      WEll, it is a tropical plant….your West Indian markets might have them?

      • Mad Dog December 6, 2012 at 11:10 am #

        Maybe in Brixton 😉

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

        Precisely what I was thinking…ask for manioc

      • Chantek December 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

        In Europe can we substitute any other West Indian staples for yuca?

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy December 7, 2012 at 6:48 am #

        You might ask for dasheen (taro, cocoyam). Best best is a variation with green bananas, boiled twice. I promise that I will do it over Chrissy and post…it takes some doing and gets your pots filthy if you don’t do it right, but it is beautiful.

  5. thewindykitchen December 5, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    oh, I haven’t seen the frozen one! I bought fresh a while back to make yuca fries, but it did take a while to make them.

Talk foodie to me, baby...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: