When it's as cold and windy as this weekend, it's time for some comfort food. Sure, eggs, bacon, and pancakes are fine. But why not indulge in a griddled starchy tropical tuber filled with mozzarella and scallions instead? Yuca, manioc, cassava... the funny waxed and woody thing found amongst the other odd tubers and fruits in the Latin section of your mega supermarket or local bodega.
It's white flesh is usually sweet, though at times it has a kind of bitter aftertaste, the latter less welcome. It's a indigenous to the Americas and is one of the foods carried by colonial trades across the oceans from Africa to Southeast Asia.
I first had this particular preparation from my wife. This morning she asked me to show her how to shape smaller tortas, as her's were mammoth, not a bad thing if you're hungry!
This is a no-recipe recipe. Basically, find a nice tuber, firm, check for black spots or mushy specimens. Peel the yuca of its waxed skin, then split and cut into two halves. Make smaller pieces about an inch or two, try removing the center vein, as you can't chew on that.
Place into a pot and cover with water, and add a couple pinches of salt. Cook till tender and mash with the back of a fork. Have some grated mozzarella and chopped scallions around. To make a flattened cake of mashed yuca, place a good bit of cheese and onions in the center, fold over the yuca on to itself and flatten to a round sort of pancake. I used a black skillet with about a tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Cook till golden brown and flip over and crisp the other side. Serve hot with some coffee, maybe some chicharrón would be nice too.