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

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!

Yardbird Southern Table and Bar

       Fine-Fried-Chicken

When I get a craving for fried chicken, I head straight to Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, one of Miami’s best restaurants, serving up fine crispy fried chicken and deep south staples on Miami Beach. I have been to Yardbird countless times, and each time is better than the last. The food is amazing and the decor is adorable to boot. Yardbird has all of those popular restaurant decorations that are everywhere right now: mason jar chandelier, chicken coup wiring, re-purposed wood, open kitchen, the country linens at every restaurant known to mankind, beautiful chalkboard lettering, and the list goes on. The whole restaurant embodies trendy southern charm. 

       Mason Jar Chandelier  Run-Chicken-Run

During this visit my boyfriend and I arrived with a game plan in mind. Of course we are serious restaurant junkies so while en route we were already reading their menu online. I must admit we were stoked to see the actual menu was different than the link to Yardbird menu through Yelp. The options were more diverse with additions like Warm Farmer’s Cheese $5 and Pork Croquettes with fried egg $14. 

Cocktail Menu Yardbird Bar (2) Honeydew This

I figured since we were arriving around 9:00 PM on a Monday night there would be no wait at Yardbird. We actually ended up waiting around 15 minutes at the bar. Just enough time to order, receive, and sip a bit on our cocktails. I ordered the “Honeydew This” $12 a blend of Knob Creek, fresh pressed honeydew juices, lemon, and tarragon. The drink was refreshing, herbal, and perfectly earthy. My boyfriend had the “Strong as an Oak” $18- I would describe this as a reposado Tequila Old-fashioned. (Yes- the price tag of the drinks are insane- that’s Miami for you). The combination of Avion reposado tequila with the orange bitters made the drink taste reminiscent of Grand Marnier, a strong and sweet orange cognac liqueur.

Once at the table, we were greeted by an enthusiastic server- who read our vibe well and was unobtrusive and polite. Whenever a server is enthusiastic about the food- you should be excited. It is hard as a server to feign interest and passion for the product you dish up all day every day, so his genuine service was much appreciated.

   Bourbon Bacon Sundae          yardbird bar

To start we enjoyed the Iceberg Wedge with fresh cut corn, tomatoes, plentiful blue cheese, avocado, and thick cut bacon bits with avocado dressing. The dressing was mildly sweet, tangy, with hints of dill, which made you keep on wanting more. This was also the best presented wedge I’ve ever had, in that the wedge itself was divided into thirds making it easier to eat. After the salad we had the Beef Sirloin Tartar $14- served with a crunchy-fried-savory corn bread with icy bbq sorbet on top. The meat was fresh, chopped finely, and the bbq sorbet really brought the dish together.

Next came Yardbird’s tour de force- the Llewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken $26. The recipe apparently takes 27 hours and it shows- with crunchy skin that is finger-licking-good. I usually douse mine in their signature spicy tobacco-honey sauce. If you want a full experience, I’d recommend getting the blue plate special or the friend chicken dinner that comes with the chilled-spiced watermelon and cheddar waffle. I’m not crazy for the waffle myself- so I ordered their French fries with bacon salt $8. These fries are insanely delicious. The dipping sauce has that nice sweet buttermilk tang along with some fresh citrus. I don’t necessarily taste the bacon salt, but the fries have a good seasoning.         

            coffee

For dessert- with me there is always dessert- I had the Bourbon Bacon Sundae $10! I wouldn’t say the ice cream really tasted like bourbon but that salty caramel tho!! It was superb! I really didn’t need the bacon, which came in a long strip- but it was a nice salty addition to the rich, thick, custard-like ice cream. Chopped bacon might have been a nicer touch. My boyfriend ordered a double espresso which was itsy bitsy teeny tiny! But the server did bring us one more shot because it was truly minuscule.

        Yardbird-Peach-Ice-Cream

Well, these are just some of the things we had this visit to one of 50 Egg’s locations, but I have enjoyed their Scarlet O’Hara cocktail (aperol, bourbon, lemon, tobacco, honey- and more shaken deliciousness), the Fried Green Tomato “BLT” $14, Mama’s Chicken Biscuits $14 (ask for more pickles and pickled onions- they are fabulous!), the Chicken Under a Brick, the St. Louis Style Pork Ribs $32, the Mac and Cheese (to die for) $10, their biscuits with honey-butter and homemade preserves $9, the Grasshopper Sundae (served with a giant homemade peppermint patty!), and a blueberry cobbler with marshmallows and a peach ice cream.

I am already excited to come back to Yardbird for our next visit. They always have a crowd generating that Miami ‘vibe’, quality food, and excellent service. It is a place to see and be seen. I am sure Yardbird will be a South Florida staple for years (I also heard they are opening one in Las Vegas)!

 Yardbird: Southern Table and Bar

 1600 Lenox Ave • Miami Beach, FL • 33139 • (305) 538-5220