Yuca Frita with Cilantro Garlic Sauce Recipe

Yuca-FritaYuca-with-CIlantro-Garlic-Sauce

Crispy yuca frita is another Cuban favorite that is great fried or boiled and served with garlic. The boiled yuca is called yuca hervida, and I’ll make that another time. This time I made yuca frita. Delicious crispy fried yuca frita with a tangy lime cilantro garlic dipping sauce. This is the perfect side item or afternoon snack. Yuca have a distinct flavor and are wonderfully crispy on the outside, and creamy soft on the inside. Yuca frita are pretty much Cuban french fries.

Cilantro-Garlic-Sauce Finished-sauce

Any Miami native has had delicious varieties of cilantro garlic sauce, but everyone knows Pollo Tropical‘s is the best. Cilantro garlic dipping sauce is the perfect condiment for this starchy root vegetable.  I love yuca in every which way, Versailles also makes yuca encrusted picadillo that looks like a croqueta, drizzled with cilantro garlic sauce. It. Is. Amazing. I’m telling you, do not be intimidated by yuca’s rough bark exterior, you can always take a short cut and buy the frozen yuca in your local supermarket.

        Yuca-Frita

Crispy Yuca Frita

1 large Yuca (the one pictured served yielded 22 pieces enough to feed 4-5)
Oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)
Sea salt and lime for garnish

Cilantro Garlic Sauce**********

***********I now use a new recipe. This is the original recipe I posted, but I have now perfected the recipe after trial and error the link is here.

1 container Fage Greek Yogurt
4 roasted garlic cloves
1 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp green Tabasco
3 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lime (or more to taste)
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp cayenne
Salt to taste

Begin to prep the yuca and cilantro garlic sauce. First, set a large pot of salted water to boil. Peel the outside of the yucca well with a peeler, clean thoroughly and pat dry. Cut the yuca into 2 inch by ½ inch thick rectangles. When the water is boiling add the yuca and boil for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Take the yuca out and lightly dry. Now is your opportunity to remove the fibrous center, gently remove this with a fork and discard. Cut the thick pieces in quarters.

Unpeeled-Yuca Chop-Yuca Stacked-Yuca

Heat 2 inches of canola oil in a pan to fry the yuca. The yuca took surprisingly long to get nice and crispy, but it is worth the wait. In my opinion the crispier the better! Squeeze a lime wedge over the yuca and sprinkle with sea salt. I plated both dishes with five yuca frita.  If you are cooking for more people then cook the yuca in batches and place in the oven to keep hot and crispy.

Fry-the-YucaUp-Close-Fried-Yuca

Now make the cilantro garlic sauce. Add the roughly torn cilantro, lime juice, garlic, onion powder, sugar, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper, and Greek yogurt to the Cuisinart food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

                     Hot-and-Crispy

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Cuban Avocado Salad + Breakfast

                Cuban-Avocado-Salad-+-breakfast

Cuban Avocado Salad is a classic staple in Cuban households, where salad greens were seldom seen. Comprised of crisp avocado and onion; sometimes tomato, this salad is great with any Cuban meal.  Usually salads at your local Latin-American will be either a delicious avocado salad or a lackluster version of this. What you have here, my friends, is my version of Cuban avocado salad. For this salad we use Florida Avocados. While I do like Haas avocados as well, they aren’t the true kind for the salad; the Florida variety are more crisp and watery than the creamier texture of the Haas. Florida Avocados are much larger than the tiny Haas and are bright green on the outside, they tend to ripen fast.

        Cuban-Avocado-Salad       Florida-Avocado

Soaking the red onions in red wine vinegar and water gives a nice bright flavor to the avocado; and a squeeze of lemon is not to be forgotten. For breakfast I’ll often make the Cuban avocado salad with a split English muffin or Cuban bread and a soft-boiled egg on top, smashed into the buttered bread. With a cafecito on the side?! Ño! Que rico!

           UpClose-Salad

Cuban Avocado Salad + Breakfast

1 large Florida Avocado
1/2 small red onion or 1 Shallot thinly sliced
Grape tomatoes, halved (optional)
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice or lime

First, slice the red onion and soak them in the red wine vinegar and water with a little bit of salt (a pinch of sugar can add some oomph too). Dice the avocado and half the grape tomatoes (I thought I had tomatoes, but turns out I didn’t! So I didn’t use them today…). Dress with olive oil, salt and pepper. Take the red onions out of the vinegar and sprinkle on the salad. Squeeze a lemon or lime wedge on top for garnish.

IngredientsMarinated-ShallotsDiced-Avocado

I served this with a 100 Calorie Thomas English Muffin and a small pat of unsalted butter. In order to successfully soft boil your eggs put a pot of salted water to boil. Once the water is boiling gently lower the room temperature eggs into the water; reduce the heat to low and cover (I forgot to cover my pot and they turned out fine!). The eggs may slightly crack with ribbons of egg whites floating around them, but this did not affect my eggs, they were still perfectly soft-boiled despite small cracks. Set your timer for 5 minutes (6 if you like your egg whites more firm). Immediately run under cool water and peel them carefully.* Smash into toast and enjoy with Cuban avocado salad.

   Before-Smashing-the-Egg     After-Smashing

 *Hint: Older eggs peel better!

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Cuban Pastries

Guava Pastries Cuban Pastries

Cuban pastries called pastelitos are classic Cuban treats that will brighten up any breakfast, party, or 3:05 cafecito. You might be surprised to hear that homemade Cuban pastries, those delicious pastelitos that you so crave and grew up eating, are EASY to make at home. Baked in buttery puff pastry, they are often filled with tropical sweets (like guava, mango, coconut, dulce de leche, and cream cheese) or stuffed with meat like shredded chicken or picadillo (we’ll make that filling another time for Cuban empanadas). Like many Cubans and tropical fruit lovers, I am obsessed with guava. Conchita brand guava marmalade poured over cottage cheese, mixed with thick Greek yogurt, spread on crackers with cream cheese, or stuffed into delicate layers of puff pastry- oh the possibilities are endless!

     Sliced Conchita Guava     Guava on Pastry

     Add Cream Cheese     Guava and Cream Cheese Pastries

Today I am making Cuban pastries filled with guava and cream cheese also known as pastelitos de guayaba con queso. The cream cheese is lightly sweetened and the guava melts to a sticky liquid between the flaky pastry (half the adventure of eating these Cuban pastries is trying to avoid getting golden pastry crumbs all over yourself). Once the Cuban pastries are baking in the oven, the guava becomes molten hot lava- seriously ridiculously hot. The aroma of the fresh baking Cuban pastries will make your mouth water, but I urge you to wait around 10-15 minutes or even longer to allow the molten guava middle to cool. Break these pastries apart to enjoy with a steaming cup of café con leche or a little afternoon cortadito.

 Cut PastriesPastelitos de Guayaba

Cuban Pastries

Makes 9 or 18 small pastelitos for a party

1 box puff pastry sheets or homemade puff pastry dough

½ small container of Guava Paste (or 7 ounces…I used Conchita brand)

8 ounce container of reduced-fat cream cheese

½ cup sugar, divided

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup water

Follow instructions on the box to defrost the puff pastry on parchment paper (this can be done overnight in the refrigerator or quickly on the countertop for 40 minutes). You can also be a real go-getter and make your own puff pastry!! Frankly I’m too busy, and the store-bought stuff is damn good too. Set the cream cheese out to soften on the countertop. When soft enough add half the sugar and vanilla, mix well, and set aside. Microwave ¼ cup of water for 30 seconds, and mix with the remaining half of the sugar to create simple syrup. Allow the syrup to cool.

Cuban PastriesCut Pastelitos

Cut guava paste into rectangles of even thickness, cut in half, and lay evenly spread apart on the puff pastry. Top guava with sweetened cream cheese and then place the other layer of puff pastry on top. Brush the top of the pastry with simple syrup. Cut the Cuban guava pastelitos before baking in the oven. Bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on top. Once again, I must repeat for the sake of your tongue’s safety…do NOT eat these until they have cooled down! The guava and cream cheese will be extremely hot, wait at least 15 minutes for maximum enjoyment.

Layer Upon Flaky Layer

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