Friday, December 4, 2009

Yucca Fries and Alternative Country (You know like Pufferfish and Jon and Roy)

The first time I ate Yucca Fries was at a local Tampa joint called the Lime. I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I took that first bite, looking back I probably should've thought twice about it. Afterall, I have craved nothing else since that first day. I had not ventured to cook the plant myself until a recent trip to the grocery store when I found Yucca for less than two dollars a pound. I had to try it.

Not wanting to ruin one of my favorite sides I researched the best way to prepare yucca fries and found that there isn't one best way. So I tried two. My research also turned up something else very interesting. There is a lady somewhere in Indiana that will be divorced by her husband if she ever tries to make Yucca fries again (at least that is what she posted in some message board). Poor chap, doesn't know what he is missing.

Baked and Fried Yucca Fries
(printable version)

-2 foot long yucca plant peeled and sliced into wedges
-3 cups of peanut oil
-2 Tbs. of sea salt
-2 Tbs. of garlic powder
-2 teaspoons of paprika
-1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
-1 Tbs. of lime juice
-black pepper to taste

1. For the Fried Fries: Pour 3 cups of peanut oil into a frying pan. Heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, drop the fries in and cook until golden. Remove fries from oil with a slotted spoon. Wrap in a paper towel and remove excess oil. Season with spices and serve.

2. For the baked fries: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put 2 tablespoons of oil and spices in a metal bowl. Top with yucca. Using your hands maneuver the yucca around until fries are completely coated with oil and spices. Put on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes (yucca should not be sticking to the pan, if so bake longer). Flip and cook another 10 minutes.

*Note: When I make regular French Fries I prefer the baked method. With the yucca I preferred the second batch of fried yucca. For the first batch the oil wasn't hot enough so it didn't come out as crispy. The second batch of fried yucca came out crispier. The baked version just seemed to be textually inferior. Also use a sharp knife when cutting yucca. I used a dull one and almost hacked my fingers off ten times.

As I cut and fried my way through the yucca plant I was reminded of a simpler time when knives were sharp and fryers were at my grasp. I get the same sort of simpler feel when I hear Seattle's Pufferfish. Don't let the song title, "Wrecking ball," fool you. These guys don't have a metal bone in their body, they do all their damage with poison. "Wrecking Ball" is from the album Swell which was released on November 16th. You can purchase it here.

Pufferfish-Wrecking Ball

From further north on the western coast comes Victoria's Jon and Roy. I've heard that Victoria is a beautiful place and I've had an offer to visit there. If the scenery is anything like Jon and Roy's "Another Noon" then count me in. Here is a short excerpt of the song from a Volkswagen commercial:

Jon and Roy-Another Noon