Hello from Colombia!
I am here visiting family for the holidays and enjoying my foodie face off at the countless farmer’s markets! There is simply no comparison to the farmer’s markets here and the farmer’s markets in Canada–everything is fresh-picked and absolutely nothing is bought from the supermarket and resold. And did I mention how cheap it is? Needless to say I am in heaven.
I’ve been eating plenty of fresh and local fruits and vegetables as well as pastured eggs, meats, and fish straight from my grandfather’s pond. Today I had the pleasure of enjoying a glass of fresh, raw milk from a grass-fed cow. My life felt complete.
The only downside to this trip is the way the food is prepared. My grandmother only uses vegetable oil (cringe) and keeps her fridge stocked with…..margarine. She refuses to listen to any meager suggestion of using butter or lard instead since she’s been “told” that those fats are unhealthy and clog her arteries. Are you tearing your hair out in frustration yet? I sure am. Especially when I consider the fact that all the milk at the grocery stores here is Ultra-High temperature Pasteurized. WHY?! God only knows.
My grandmother actually looked at me like I was drinking a mug of cockroaches when I drank my glass of raw milk. I am in no mood to argue with a stubborn old lady and so will let her continue living in her unhealthy ignorance.
Onto the recipe!
Yucca or cassava is a starchy root vegetable native to South America. It has an inedible, rough brown outer skin which must be removed before cooking. The white flesh does not have a particular taste and thus is used more for texture than for taste. Yucca is indigestible and in some cases toxic in its raw state and must be cooked before eating.
Yucca is predominantly rich in carbohydrates and poor in protein (kind of like potatoes). Despite the very low quantity, the quality of cassava root protein is fairly good in terms of essential amino acids. Furthermore, the roots are rich in calcium and vitamin C and contain a nutritionally significant quantity of thiamine, riboflavin and nicotinic acid.
Yucca is fairly easy to find in North America and inexpensive. If your local grocery store does not carry it, try the asian supermarket. When selecting yucca, be sure to avoid ones with bruises. Any tender spots on the yuca root is likely a sign of a bruise.
Yucca is delicious fried or simply steamed with sea salt. I used it in this recipe after having tried and made some modifications to Erica’s Cod Fish and Yuca Cakes to make the recipe grain and dairy free. These fish cakes can be made with virtually any type of fish; I’ve made them with canned tuna, salmon, and even tilapia. The yuca adds an irreplaceable creaminess that ensures that the fish cake is not at all dry and maintains it’s form. You can season the fish cakes with your choice of seasonings, although you won’t go wrong if you follow the ones I’ve listed below.
Yucca Fish Cakes (Grain-Free)
Adapted from here
Makes 6-8 cakes
- 1 pound cod or other mild-flavoured fish, cooked and flaked
- 1 cup cooked and mashed yucca
- 1 tbsp coconut flour*
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- 1 large scallion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut cream (from the top of can)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Sea salt and pepper
- Coconut oil or ghee for frying
In a small skillet over low heat, melt the ghee. Add the green onions and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
In a medium bowl, place the flaked fish, mashed yucca, cooked onions and garlic, coconut flour, cilantro,mustard, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and mix well.
In a separated bowl, whisk together the cream and eggs until well blended. Add to the fish mixture and mix well.
Form the mixture into round cakes. In a large pan over medium-high heat fry the cakes in the coconut oil o ghee, turning once, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes per side.
*I’ve used store-bought coconut flour in this recipe and homemade coconut flour leftover from making coconut milk; if using the latter, use 2 tbsp.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas; may you all be very prosperous and continue to be the fantastic advocates for real food that you are!
Shared on Freaky Friday