Mexican Baked "Potato" Salad
For those of you who have already tried my Tomato-Corn Chowder, you know that I sometimes like to substitute yuca for potatoes. It’s a staple of Latin-American cuisine, a starchy root vegetable, also known as cassava, with a mildly sweet flavor. Because it has a dense texture, it’s a good idea to boil it before baking or grilling; I’ve chosen to bake the yuca on the grill for this “potato” salad recipe, just to give it a little extra smokiness, but you could also just bake it in the oven at about 400°F until fork-tender. Try it with my quick version of a classic crema, and be sure to keep the crema on ice if you are serving it outdoors on a hot day! Serves 6 2 pounds yuca, peeled and quartered 2 ears of fresh corn, husks removed and lightly rubbed with olive oil 3 strips of thick-cut bacon, cooked and diced 2 scallions, diced (both green and white parts) 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (optional) 1/3 cup olive oil 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon honey 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano Salt and pepper to taste for the crema: 2 cups sour cream 1/4 cup fresh lime juice 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest Place the yuca in a large pot and cover with water; add salt to the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flesh can just be pierced with a fork but isn’t too tender. Drain and set aside to cool for a few minutes, then remove the woody core from each piece and then cut into 1-inch chunks. Toss in a little olive oil and wrap the chunks loosely in aluminum foil. Put the oiled ears of corn and aluminum foil-wrapped yuca onto a medium-hot grill. Keep a close eye on the corn, turning them as they begin to brown on each side so as not to burn them; remove and set aside to cool. Flip the foil packet of yuca over after about 5 minutes so that the chunks cook more evenly; take a peek at them and remove them from the grill when they are golden, but not burnt, and are easily pierced with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature. Put the olive oil, lime juice, honey, oregano, and salt and pepper in the bottom of a large serving bowl and whisk together. Cut the kernels off the grilled corn and add to the bowl, along with the yuca, bacon, and scallions. Toss together well and garnish with the thin slices of jalapeño. To make the crema, whisk together the sour cream, lime juice and zest, and salt until you have a thin cream that can be easily drizzled; if it’s still too thick, add a little more lime juice or plain milk to get it to the right consistency. Can be served on the side in a small bowl or even in a squeeze bottle, so that your guests can add as much or as little as they like. Did you know? People often confuse "yuca" and "yucca" — yuca is the name of the root vegetable, while yucca is actually an ornamental plant.
Looking for more potato salad recipes? Check out my Potato Fiesta!
Fiesta Dinnerware in top photo provided by Homer Laughlin China Company.