This Baked Yuca Wedges recipe is a simple introductory recipe that should be easy-to-follow and result in a delicious introduction to the Costa Rica Yuca. Total cooking time is 45 minutes. We are assuming this is your first time preparing a Yuca recipe and so, have added a “pause” after the “boil” to truly appreciate it.
The ‘Yuca’ is a Costa Rican standard, at Blue River Costa Rica Resort & Hot Springs and throughout Costa Rica. It’s a tasty tropical, root that can replace the potato in your life. Yuca is also comfort food. Anywhere the ‘Spud’ once played the leading role, substitute Yuca for a refreshing new taste. In addition, Yuca is mineral rich and contains more fiber than potatoes or yams.
Find the Yuca root in the ‘Ground Provisions’ section of any Asian, Mexican, Caribbean, South or Central American specialty store. Depending on your location, you may have to ask for Sweet Cassava, which is another name for Yuca. I bet you didn’t know that 89 percent of the Yuca in the U.S. is imported from Costa Rica, according to a 2012 report by the National Production Council? The majority of Yuca is consumed by Latin American’s residing in the U.S.; it can be bought fresh in the skin, or frozen and packaged.
Purchase 2 to 3 lbs. of Yuca
- This recipe serves 4 people
- Take them home and let them stay in their skin until you are ready to commence preparing the recipe.
Preparing Baked Yuca Wedges
Peel, wash, boil, bake, and then eat… It’s that simple.
You Will Need:
- 2 lbs. Unpeeled Yuca / Sweet Cassava
- 1 Medium sized pot for boiling the skinned, wedged Yuca
- Enough water to cover Yuca for boiling (add ½ Tbl. spn. salt to the water)
- A sharp knife to remove skin and shape the wedges.
- 1 Cutting board
- 1 Slotted spoon for removing Yuca Wedges from hot water.*Special Note: Yuca (or Cassava) must be boiled before it is eaten.
*A detailed explanation of how to prepare various types of Yuca appears in the Introduction to Yuca blog.
1. Fill your pot with water, lightly salted and set on stovetop to boil. Ensure there is just enough water to cover the Yuca cubes.
2. Peel the Yuca
Using a sharp knife, carefully remove and discard the skin by:
a. First, cut off and discard both ‘ends’ of the Yuca.
b. Then, remove and discard the rough outer skin. Do this in one of two ways-
i. Cut the Yuca cut in half ‘lengthwise’; then use your thumbs to pry the skin off. Discard the skin.
ii. Using a sharp knife, peel and discard the skin. Careful not to remove too much of the Yuca when peeling off the skin.
iii. Cut the Yuca in half along its length.
Making Yuca Wedges
Divide the long section (from above) into shorter 3” chunks, by cutting across its length.
Shape those 3” lengths, into wedges, roughly a1/2” square (think mojos).
If you were making a Yuca Salad or preparing Yuca for soups the shape would be cubed.
On to the Boil
All Yuca recipes require that they be boiled.
The water in your pot should be boiling; carefully lower the wedges into the hot water and cook for about 15 minutes. When the wedge admits a fork easily, remove them from the pot, drain and cool; be careful not to crush them. Discard the water.
Pause here for a Taste of Yuca
Stop and sample it, because knowing how the Yuca tastes will bring ideas to mind.
Hot, soft, and tender; is the best way to describe the Wedges at this stage. Gently take a few and place them in a shallow dish. Add a little butter, sprinkle with salt and a dash of black pepper. This is your first Yuca Creation; taste it. Now you begin to appreciate its delicate, distinctive, taste, and texture. Let it melt on your tongue as your creative juices begin to flow.
Back to our Baked Yuca Wedge Recipe.
Place the drained Yuca Wedges, carefully, on a baking-sheet drizzled with the Seasoned Olive Oil described below; then slip them into the oven for 20-30 minutes.
Make a big-batch Yuca instead of ‘potato fries’. Serve them on game night, at snack time, as a burger complement, with fish dishes, or when watching a good movie. They go well with good friends and a ‘cold-one’.
Baking the Yuca Wedges
You will Need:
• Prepared Yuca Wedges (Above)
• Oven warmed to 450F
• ½ Cup Virgin Olive Oil or Virgin Coconut Oil
• 1 Large Sweet Onion, finely-chopped
• 5 Cloves Garlic, pressed
– Salt & Black Pepper to taste
– Add a sprinkle of Chili Powder to spice-things-up if needed
(After trying this recipe, add other seasonings to develop ‘your own Special Flavor’)
Make sure the oven is warmed to 450F.
- Combine Olive Oil or Virgin Coconut Oil with Garlic, Onions, and a little salt, mix in the skillet. Gently warm the mixture to ‘introduce the flavors’ to each other, you now have ‘Seasoned Oil’ .
- On the baking-sheet, place the drained Yuca Wedges; using a basting brush coat each piece with the ‘Seasoned Oil’. Retain half of oil and all the seasoning for later. Place the sheet in the oven for 10 minutes.
- Then carefully remove the sheet from the oven, turn the Wedges, and coat with the remaining ‘Seasoned Oil’ mixture and seasoning.
- Return to the oven for 10 minutes, or till when the Wedges are browned.
- Remove and place the Baked Wedges in a serving dish; sprinkle with a pinch of salt, black pepper, Chili Powder or any flavor that intrigues you.
For the Pièce De Résistance, drizzle some Malt Vinegar on the Baked Yuca Wedge. Fabulous!
Experiment: For example, dip in tomato ketchup or other fruity condiment.
In Costa Rica’s, Sodas’ and restaurants their Ticos will offer other flavorful toppings on the table for your Yuca Wedges. Be sure to get the recipes for the ones you like best. Ask for them at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs’ Tiki Bar & Restaurant. A great complement to go along with Yuca Wedges, is a cold Cerveza.