YUCA HASH BROWNS
© 2015 All Rights Reserved by Norman & Janet Van Aken, “My Florida Kitchen”
It is an easy thing to add in bits of porky treats to these shredded cakes but we have left them simple in order to go with foods vegetarians can enjoy too. The nutty almost chestnut tones of yuca differentiate them from potatoes in subtle ways. They crisp up really well. These hash browns have also found their way on top of grilled burgers in our kitchens. There is a Cuban love called a “Frita Burger” which is a burger topped with skinny French Fries. That was the jumping off point for that baby. But with eggs over or as a side to a fish or meat dish they are going to be a steady friend for you I am pretty certain.
Yield: 8 portions
2 1/2 pounds yuca, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
salt for the water when initially cooking and for seasoning the hash browns later
pepper, to taste
Clarified Butter or Olive Oil as needed to crisp the hash browns
Put the yuca in cold, salted water and bring to a simmer.
Cook the yuca until just easily pierced with a knife. This happens faster than potatoes! About 5 minutes will do it. Drain it. Place the yuca on a large pan to cool with space separating the pieces of yuca. When cool enough to handle rub the yuca through the large holes of a box grater. Discard any hard or ‘woody’ parts that are a normal part of yuca but not something you want to eat. Gather that up into a bowl or simply leave it on your cutting board and season it with some salt and pepper.
Put the yuca on a non-stick 9” by 13” sheet pan and form into one big ‘cake’. Divide them into 8 equal rectangles about 3 inches by 2 1/2 inches. Use a rubber spatula to gently guide and force them into more compact rectangles. Tamp down with your fingers too. Once you have 8 fairly neat rectangles top them with one piece of plastic wrap, foil or parchment paper. Place another sheet pan of the same size on top and push down gently.
Place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help them bond. You can prepare them a day in advance as well like this.
Now heat a non stick griddle or pan and add in enough clarified butter or olive oil or a combination of the two to coat the pan and then some. You want enough to add in the crispy crunchy factor that makes hash browns so damn addictive. (You can add some half way through if you aren’t sure and that is fine.). Add in the frozen hash brown rectangles and cook on a steady heat until crisp and golden on both sides. This can be done in batches keeping the cooked ones in a low oven until ready to serve to all. The cooking time is more of a ‘crisping time’ in that the yuca was pre-cooked. Allow 10-15 minutes to get them hot all the way through and crisp on the outside.