Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Friday, January 7th - Ratatouille with Yucca and Plantain Fries - Crispy Goodness

Yucca Fries
I cannot justify to myself the need to own a home deep fryer.  We don't deep fry enough nor do I feel, should we.  But when we do, I curse not having one.  Everytime I try to make Fritters or fried, Risotto Balls, I have a heck of a time controlling the evenness and temperature of the oil.   This time wasn't so bad.  I think it was the new pan we got over Christmas as well as using Peanut Oil rather than Vegetable Oil. 

The new pan that mom gave us is a deep Teflon pan but it is quite heavy.  It is a good deal heavier than any of our Caphalon's but not as heavy as a Dutch Oven.  I had planned on using that but I was using our smaller one for the Ratatouille.  A heavy bottom, helps to ensure even heat distribution from the element to the oil.  Also, if you're going to do something like a fry or fritter, don't try to kid yourself that you're just pan frying and be shy with the oil.  You will need a good 3/4-1 inch of Oil in the pan.  That, combined with the heavy bottom will help ensure that the temperature of the Oil doesn't fluctuate as you add the food which is cooler.  It's a good idea, as well, to have to food at room Temperature before frying.  If you do things right, your food should not absorb too much oil.  If your oil is too cool, your food will soak it up.  On a scale of 10 on our Halogen cooktop, I kept it near 8/9 most of the time.  I definitely heated to 10 to start.  I don't have a good thermometer so I wait for a drop of water to dance or in the case of today, jump out and scorch my forearm.  Perhaps I should have used a very small piece of Yucca instead. :^D

Yucca Fries

I LOOOOOOVE Yucca.  They have a sweeter and breadier quality than Potatoes.  They're really wonderful but they are a handful to prepare.

You will see them in your grocery roughly 8-12 inches long and girth of a medium Sweet Potato.  The 'skin' is like Tree Bark and it is often waxed.  You cannot use a peeler or you shouldn't unless you want to replace it so are out to ruin your current one.

1. Trim the narrow stubby bits off each end.
2. Cut the cylinder into equal pieces, I cut mine into 3 4inch long logs, about the size of my desired fries.
3. Stand the cylinder up and hold firmly with one hand while running a good knife down the sides cutting as close to the edge as possible so as not to waste any 'meat' as you might a Pineapple.  You may have seen some Youtube videos where I think this was done poorly but I suspect, for demonstration purposes only.  Don't worry about leaving some brown bits and some thinner skin. 
4. Rince the Yucca and then run over with a peeler for remaining skin.
5. Chop into Fries.  If you have an older Yucca....i.e. fatter, you may want to cut out the very core which can be woody.  Mine was only the girth of a Soda Can and the centre wasn't so bad.
6.  Place a steamer tray over an inch of water.  Place the Yucca in leaving room to breath. 
7.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Boil for 20-30 minutes.
8.  Lift from Pot carefully.  Set aside to drain and cool slightly. 
9.  Fry until slightly golden or to your taste. 3-4 minutes. Use tongs to flip. 

Plantain Fries
Plaintain Fries/Chips

These are much easier!

1. Peel as you would a Green Banana but you may need a paring knife.
2. A Plaintain will never 'Ripen' as we know Ripe to be.  You can never eat it without cooking.  But some will be softer than others. 
    a.  If yours is like a Green Banana. slice 1/2 cm biased pieces (1/4 inch) and fry.
    b.  If yours is less ripe like a Potato, you can use a Mandoline and slice nice thin Chips
3. Fry for 2-3 minutes depending on thickness.  They Brown quicker than the Yucca because of the slightly higher sugar content.  Just watch carefully and cook to your preferred colour.

Lightly dust with Coarse Sea Salt and serve with Mayo or Chili Sauce. MMMMMM

J's Ratatouille
I served these along side some Ratatouille without the eggs.


3 Leave a / Read COMMENTs:

Amy Bakes Everything said...

These sound amazing! I, too, have fryer issues: I have one, but I don't use it enough and feel that I'm wasting oil when I do break it out. Great photos!

Tiffany said...

I LOOOOOOVE Yucca too!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's starchy and delicious!

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious snack