Yuca con Mojo
Yuca is among the most commonly eaten viandas — the local word for starchy fruits and vegetables, such as plantain and taro — in Puerto Rico. It is the root of the cassava, an extraordinarily resilient plant that was the principal food of the Indigenous Taínos of the island. Among its many preparations, this is my favorite: boiled yuca doused in a garlicky citrus mojo dressing, my grandmother’s recipe. She never wrote it down, but my mother had it deep in her memory, and we cooked it together for this version you see here. The mojo will keep for several weeks in the fridge, and is also delicious on crispy fried tostones, roasted vegetables and fish.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2pounds yuca (see Note)
- ¼cup kosher salt
- 1cup olive oil
- 1large white onion, sliced into thin circles
- 5large garlic cloves, minced
- 1teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2dried bay leaves
- ½teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼cup white vinegar
Step 1Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
Step 2Prepare the yuca: Fill a large bowl with water. Peel the yuca with a sharp peeler or paring knife, then chop it into 2-inch pieces, tossing them in the bowl of water as you go to avoid discoloration.
Step 3Make the mojo: Bring olive oil to a simmer in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring well to incorporate. Cook until the onions are translucent and soft, stirring often and being careful not to let the onions brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar, and add salt to taste.
Step 4Once water is at a rolling boil, add 1/4 cup salt, then carefully add yuca. Boil for 20 to 30 minutes, until a sharp knife goes through easily, careful not to let yuca overcook and become mushy.
Step 5Drain yuca and transfer to a serving dish. Pour over warm mojo and serve.