2000s Recipes + Menus

Yuquitas a la Huancaína

Fried Yuca with Peruvian Cheese Sauce

Serves4 (side dish)
  • Active Time:30 min
  • Start to Finish:45 min
August 2006
Think of this as the Peruvian answer to fries and ketchup. While huancaína sauce is usually served over sliced potatoes with boiled eggs and olives, Guillermo Payet finds it a great accompaniment to fried yuca, the potato-like root vegetable.

For sauce

  • 1/2 lb Mexican queso fresco or mild feta cheese, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bottled ajì amarillo purée (available at kitchenmarket.com)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For yuca

  • 2 lb fresh yuca (cassava) or 1 1/2 pound frozen peeld yuca (not thawed)
  • About 6 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Special equipment:

    a deep-fat thermometer
  • Garnish:

    fresh lime wedges (preferably Key limes)

Make sauce:

  • Pulse together sauce ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Fry yuca:

  • If using fresh yuca, trim ends and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces, then peel, removing waxy brown skin and pinkish layer underneath.
  • Cover yuca (fresh or frozen) with cold salted water by 1 inch in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until yuca is tender when pierced with a wooden skewer, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to several layers of paper towels to drain, then cool 5 minutes. Cut yuca lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide wedges, discarding thin woody core. (If there are pieces that have white parts to them, return them to barely simmering water and simmer until almost translucent.)
  • Heat about 1 1/2 inches oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat until it registers 360ºF on thermometer.
  • Fry yuca in 3 batches, turning occasionally, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 360ºF between batches.) Sprinkle fries with salt and serve with cheese sauce.
Cooks' notes: Sauce made with queso fresco will be very thick. Thin with additional half-and-half if desired.
Sauce can be made 1 day ahead and chilled in a bowl, covered. Bring to room temperature, then stir before serving.
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