A few birthdays ago had roasted a whole pig and invited some friends over to help me eat it. I mean I have some skills but eating a whole 52-pound pig is not one of them. I did a whole Puerto Rican spread. And, one of the side dishes that I served with it was yuca en escabeche.
Yuca en escabeche is one of the best picnic/buffet foods to serve in my opinion. It holds beautifully and only gets better tasting with time.
What is Yuca en Escabeche?
Yuca en escabeche is the perfect example of the marriage between Spanish and indigenous Puerto Rican food. The yuca root, also known as cassava root, is native to Puerto Rico and was plentiful when the Spanish arrived.
At some point, boiled yuca and Spanish escabeche sauce were combined to create yuca en escabeche.
What is Escabeche?
Escabeche is a mixture of oil and vinegar, which helps to preserve and marinate foods. It can be used over vegetables as well as proteins. This escabeche includes onion, olives, garlic, and roasted red peppers. The sauce turns out sweet and acidic, very similar to pickling.
The yuca sits in the marinade, building flavor overnight in the refrigerator. It’s refreshing and comforting at the same time. Because it holds up so well, it is served in almost every roadside restaurant or eatery in Puerto Rico.
Yuca en Escabeche Recipe Ingredients
2 cups olive oil
1 cup white vinegar
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
12 Spanish olives, halved
8 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup roasted peppers, diced
2 bay leaves
12 whole peppercorns
3 lbs yuca (cassava root), peeled and cored
1 tablespoon kosher salt
What is Yuca?
You may have heard yuca called by its other name cassava. It is a root vegetable with an almost bark-like skin. It is also dried into a powdery extract to make tapioca.
You may have heard that plantains are a big part of Puerto Rican cuisine, but there is one starchy vegetable that is even more ingrained in our food culture and that is yuca.
Yuca, or cassava, is significant to the food culture of Puerto Rico and runs deep in its history. Unlike plantains, yuca is native to Puerto Rico and was the main crop of the indigenous people, the Taínos. The crop was so ample and significant to them that their major god was Yúcahu, which means spirit or giver of cassava. It was believed that Yúcahu lived at the top of El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s rainforest, and produced the rains that gave life to grow yuca.
I tell my friends that yuca en escabeche is like a potato salad. Which is a bad comparison but, it’s the best I got. But, it’s a starchy vegetable served room temperature in a dressing. So, it’s kinda like a potato salad, but not. I am glad I cleared that up. I can say this, it’s a dish that you will find at almost any Puerto Rican gathering and it’s great for cookouts.
If you are having a large get together you can make this several days in advance. It will keep beautifully in the refrigerator and get better with flavor each day. Sometimes I make a large batch and my husband and I will eat from it for almost a week.
more puerto rican recipes
- arroz con gandules | rice and pigeon peas
- ensalada de bacalao | salted cod salad
- roasted pernil | puerto rican roast pork
One More Thing!
The holiday season is officially here! Get my new ebook with a collection of 14 traditional Puerto Rican Christmas recipes to help you get your holiday party season going. I got all the essentials! From pernil to tembleque and the ultimate Christmas drink coquito!
Yuca en Escabeche
Boiled yuca marinades in an olive oil and vinegar sauce with onions, red peppers, and olives. The result is a light refreshing flavor that is still filling and comforting.
- 2 cups olive oil
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 12 Spanish olives, halved
- 8 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted peppers, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 whole peppercorns
- 3 lbs yuca (cassava root), peeled and cored
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients except yuca in a sauce pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes until onions are translucent and tender.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Cut the yuca in half and then into 1-1/2 to 2-inch slices. Place yuca in a large pot, cover with an inch of water, and stir in salt.
- Bring the water to a slow boil over medium-high heat then lower to a simmer. Continue to simmer the yuca until they are fork tender, about 20 - 30 minutes.
- Drain yuca and transfer to a glass casserole dish. Pour sauce over yuca, tossing to evenly coat. Cover and refrigerate for one hour or overnight.
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