Thursday, October 27, 2011

…My Strip District Visit 10-15-11, Parte 5: Roasted Apple & Tomatillo Salsa + homemade Yucca Fries

I have an obsession with yucca.

Ever since I first tried yucca fries at Chicken Latino, I can’t get enough of them.  No potato-based French fries can compare to yucca fries, especially when they are eaten with their green salsa and mayonnaise.

During my Strip District visit, I was shopping at Stan’s Market, grabbing ingredients for a salsa recipe, when my mom, who had just been to Chicken Latino for the first time, spotted it – yucca, $1.19/lb.  And not moldy.

Yucca (Yuca, in Spanish) on the shelf outside at Stan's Market - good eye, mom!

 Giant Eagle, you may recall, had yucca, too - $1.99/lb.  And moldy.

Done.  Purchased.  Yucca fries will be made.

I am very aware that this looks like poo.  However, it is yucca root.

It's much prettier when peeled.

Beginning to fry (looks like they're on fire at the bottom - I swear they're not!)

Fully frying

Crispy and delicious!  No, they're not burnt!
 In addition to the yucca, I purchased a lot of fresh veggies from Stan’s Market that day, including tomatillos, Granny Smith apples, jalapeno peppers, garlic (a head, not the jarred stuff that I usually buy), and onions, among others.  Why?  

Granny Smith apples from Stan's Market
 Yet another fabulous-sounding recipe, this time for salsa, thanks to @eatocracy and @chefmarcela.

Tomatillos have always intrigued me, but I have never tried to make anything with them myself – the bulk of this recipe was made up of tomatillos, so I figured that this was the best thing to try with them. 

Tomatillos from Stan's Market
@eatocracy (from CNN) posts links to recipes all of the time, but on this particular day, they seemed to be focused on recipes by Marcela Valladolid, or “Chef Marcela”, who has a show on The Food Network and is the author of Mexican Made Easy: Everyday Ingredients, Extraordinary Flavor.

Mexican?  Easy?  Yes, please.

Ready to roast


Roasted fruits/veggies ready to blend

Blended (salsa)

Reyna's tortillas, cut, baked

 At this point, I tasted the salsa – it was ok – I could definitely taste the apple, and I could get the feel for the flavor of the tomatillos, but it wasn’t very exciting.  I packaged it up in plastic containers, opened my fridge…

…then I saw the package of jalapenos.  

CRAP!   I forgot to put the jalapeno in my salsa! 

Luckily, I already had a tray of tortilla chips in the oven (corn tortillas from Reyna Foods sprayed with Pam, cut into 1/8ths), so I threw the stemmed jalapeno onto the tray to roast.  I pulled the chips out after a few minutes (otherwise they would have burned), and let the jalapeno continue to roast.

Trying to salvage the salsa by roasting the jalapeno!
 Once the jalapeno was roasted enough, I put all of the salsa back into the blender, along with the roasted jalapeno.  I probably should have removed the membrane and seeds, but I can handle the heat.

Going to blend in the jalapeno
 With the jalapeno, it didn’t make a huge difference flavor-wise, but the spice factor had definitely changed.  The tortillas had turned out crispy, yet almost chewy on the inside, and worked well with the salsa.

Mmmm, delicioso!
Nothing will compare to the flavor that the chicken and apple taco from Smoke Taqueria had, but this apple/tomatillo combo wasn’t bad, either.  Tomatillos, onions, garlic, jalapenos, and…apples (?!) does not sound like an appetizing combo, but roasting them definitely gave them a different, sweeter flavor, almost the way they would taste in a pie, minus the extra sugar and spices.  I tried this salsa with chicken, too, and it was pretty tasty.

I now check out all of @eatocracy’s recipes when they are tweeted, and I follow @chefmarcela.  I need to go get her book!

Stan’s Market
1811 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

The Strip District Website:
Strip District Twitter:!/StripDistrict


Marcela Valladolid

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