My dear potatoes,
We’ve had a good run. Oh sure I’ll always love you but this is not a monogamous relationship. We’ve had some good times together and some not-so-good times, like when I made those twice-baked potatoes that ended up all over my kitchen floor or the mashed potato incident of 2006 (don’t make me go there!). You have always been there for me, eagerly awaiting to sop up the steak juices, or smothered in cheese and next to my bacon and eggs for a perfect hangover breakfast. You’ve been fried, baked, hassel-backed, mashed, boiled, sliced and chopped but you never complained.
But it’s time to see what else is out there. And perhaps I’ll come running back to potatoes, ready to apologize and hoping you’ll take me back. But for now, I need a break. I’ve found something new and exciting, something wonderfully starchy and sweet.
I found cassava.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Our love affair started in the winter of 2014. We met in Brazil. It was a beautiful day and we came across a food cart. It was no ordinary food cart. No. This food cart sold cassava pancakes. The pancakes were made of cassava flour, cooked and then topped with cheese. It was slightly sweet, and the salty cheese oozed out obnoxiously. I didn’t stand a chance, I swear! How could I resist something so wonderfully new and delicious? From then on, we were always together. When I left Brazil, I thought that I had said goodbye forever – a brief love affair that no one would know about.
But it followed me home. Sitting in the root vegetable aisle, it teased and toyed with me. But you, potatoes, sat in the next aisle, eyeing me and knowing something was awry.
Please don’t hate me.
And then I finally succumbed to the temptation. I had my husband buy it, perhaps so you wouldn’t see me? Perhaps so I wouldn’t feel so guilty. I don’t know. Sliced thin like fries, I boiled the cassava until it slightly softened. I could have eaten it then, soft and sweet. Not yet. Off of the stove, I tossed it with olive oil, roasted garlic and thyme. The fries glistened in the light and my heart started to race with anticipation. I baked them until they were golden yellow, crispy on the outside and tender inside.
I grabbed a handful off the baking sheet and plunged them into the sriracha mayo. The sriracha made my tongue tingle and the tangy mayo just made me want more and more.
I know we will meet again soon, my dear potatoes. Not today, and probably not tomorrow.
Wait for me please.
- 1 large cassava, peeled and cut into strips
- 1 head of garlic
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
- salt and pepper
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (less or more depending on how spicy you like it)
- chopped parsley and feta for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Roast the garlic by slicing off the top 3rd of the garlic head to expose each clove. Place in aluminum foil and pour over 1 tbsp of olive oil. Wrap the aluminum foil over the garlic head and place in the oven to roast for 45 minus. Take the garlic out and let it cool on a rack.
- Place the cassava into a pot and cover it with water. Boil the cassava on medium high heat for 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Run it under cold water and place in a bowl along with the olive oil, thyme and 2 cloves of roasted garlic. Toss together.
- Pour the cassava onto a baking sheet and bake until the cassava begins crispy and golden on the outside about 15-20 minutes.
- While the cassava is baking, mix the mayo and sriracha sauce together.
- Take the cassava out of the oven and top with chopped parsley and feta cheese. Serve with the sriracha mayo.