As I try to come up with the best line possible to describe how wonderful this is I simply can’t and what is most frustrating is that the pictures I took don’t do justice to what your missing out on. What I am really hoping is that by reading the ingredients of this recipe, you are going to get it. The one word that is stuck in my head is genius. To me this is one of the most inventive creations evah! The use of such a humble and traditional Latin ingredient like the cassava mixed with an old world cheese and with a so-foreign-to-Latin-cooking dough is just super clever. Take a bite of this and be ready to be impressed.
If you have never cooked cassava, here is my scoop:
Cassava is the fruit of a woody shrub native to South America. Also known as yuca, this is a major staple in Latin America cooking particularly in the Caribbean. It is also very popular in Africa and Asia. This starchy tuberous root can be cooked in various ways. It can be boiled just like potatoes and served as an accompaniment to meats cut into pieces or mashed. Cassava is used in soups, breads, drinks, and even desserts as when dried into a powder is used to form tapioca. One of my favorite forms of cooking the cassava is by frying it.
Mashed cassava is the most delicate way of cooking this root. You can make it extra smooth and silky by adding butter, cream or cheese. This recipe I am sharing is not at all a traditional recipe and can even be categorized as nouveau latin cuisine for its inventive and unusual flavor combination. For other ways on how to cook it see:
And now for a knock-your-socks-off cassava sidedish that you MUST try, follow steps below:
Start by peeling the cassava, cutting it into chunks and boiling it.
Take the boiled cassava, mash it first with a fork, add butter and use a mixer to transform it into a smooth puree.
For the cheese part of this recipe, make a Gorgonzola cream sauce and mix with the cassava mash.
The hardest part of this recipe, I have to admit, was handling the phyllo dough. Phyllo dough is very delicate and must remain moist as you work with it. The more it remains out in the open, the more it dries and starts to break. But don’t let that stop you from trying this recipe.
Place the phyllo dough in a muffin tin and fill it with the yucca and Gorgonzola mash. Fold so that all areas get covered by the phyllo dough.
Bake for 30 minutes and they will come out puffed and golden
Flip the cups into a plate and top with red pepper jelly for a sweet contrast that will help cover any imperfections.
Phyllo Wrapped Yuca Gorgonzola Mash
2 pounds cassava/yucca fresh or frozen
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese
1 package store bought frozen phyllo dough
8 tablespoons red pepper marmalade (recipe here)
Place a heavy pot on high heat with enough water to cover the cassava/yuca by at least 2 inches. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the water.
When the water comes to a boil, add the cassava/yuca. Boil for 20 minutes or until very tender.
Drain the water and mash the cassava/yuca with 2 tablespoons of butter. Set aside.
In a small sauce pan over medium heat stir heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and gorgonzola cheese until all ingredients have blended well, cheese is melted and it becomes one smooth sauce.
Add the gorgonzola cream sauce to the cassava/yuca mash and mix well with an electric mixer so is soft as a silky puree.
Preheat the Oven to 350F.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Use part of the melted butter to grease 6 muffin tins of about 3 inch in diameter each.
Place one sheet of phyllo in a flat surface at a time (keeping others covered with a damped clean towel to avoid drying out). Brush each sheet with butter and lay on top of another. Once you have layered 4 sheets, cut into 6 equal size squares.
Place each square of phyllo in the muffin tins pressing down to form a cup.
Fill with cassava/yucca mash and fold ends inward to close the cup and make a pocket. If seems too bulky cut with your hands any excess phyllo. Brush with butter as you fold so that each fold sticks to the other.
Bake for 30 minutes or until its golden brown.
After baking let them cool for at least 10 minutes so you can remove easily keeping its form intact.
Serve with a tablespoon of this red pepper marmalade.
Make sure to remove the root/heart of the cassava/yucca which runs by the middle of this fruit. To remove, use a paring knife before boiling it or for an easier method just pull with a fork after cassava/yucca is boiled.
If you would like to skip the red pepper marmalade just prepare extra gorgonzola cream and serve as an optional sauce.
Recipe inspiration from a picture from Risk Culinary School
*This recipe was created to be featured on La Cocina de Leslie – Nov Food of the Month Club: Side Dishes