Yucca - ?
I have now dragged home a batch of Yucca twice - 2 years ago from Cuba - and now again from St. Thomas - I've tried various recipes - fried - mashed - with garlic - with lemon - etc etc.
Whatever I taste it is what I've added. I just don't get it - from what I can understand it should be just as productive to grow potatoes in the same places where the Yucca is grown. Potatoes have a wide variety of flavors and types - and from what I can taste and see - would be far superior - plus one can eat the skin when appropriate - most unlike the Yucca.
I did note some Yuccas kept at room temp for even 2 months - is that it?
Maybe someone has some real good experience with Yucca and its characteristics?
I still had one - just now boiled and mashed - with and without salt I just did barely detect some background 'taste.'
I can say the name is more than apt - when peeling and cutting it was super-vukky in hands - it discolors at the speed of light - and the mash texture would have produced a great wallpaper paste.
I may well have drug home the wrong varieties from 2 places - far distant - but I guess I will be no advertisement for anyone going out of their way to get Yucca.
I can imagine there would be many additives that would result in a tasty dish - but I am thinking that it may be a just an economical 'vehicle' for getting the other flavors - much as most rice works. It just wob't be in my returning suitcases anytime soon.
This old thread seems to be the most informative
yucca help! Sept 2005
Seems the most interesting preparation is to boil it, and then fry.
While I've eaten it a number of times in Ecuador, I've only prepared it a few times.
Perhaps the most interesting use is a quick bread, pan de yuca or pan de queso, which is really more of cheese bread using yuca (tapioca) flour as the starch.
Well it may be down to varieties but I did find the batches from Cuba and USVI to be basically the same - and were fresh and never the 'same' - really tried to sense any 'flavor' without the other stuff - garlic, lemon, etc. but was unsuccssful - and I might say i don't need flavors to be 'sledgehammers.' (And if I would have found a very subtle flavor, I don't see how it wouldn't be totally covered over by all the garlic, lemon and spices I saw in all the Yucca recipes).
And did try several 'methods.' So just don't know.
" I can see how you'd think it's similar to potato" - meant this mostly as a root starch used in same functional way.
Yuca and potatoes both grow in country like Ecuador, but one is from the lowlands, the other high in the mountains. While both are consumed through out the country, there are regional preferences. It is not uncommon to have 3 'starches' in a meal (or soup), selecting from rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yuca, and plantanos.
There is a general category of food in Latin America called 'viandas', sometimes translated as root vegetables/starches. Gran Cocina Latina
has a nice discussion of these foods.
A viandas discussion
I think yuca has a distinct (albeit mild) taste, very different from a potato. It's sweetish and slightly musty. Yuca also has a soft, crumbly texture when boiled or fried, which I find very appealing. The only yuca I've cooked myself has come from the same market, so I don't know if there are different varieties with different characteristics.