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Feb 15, 2012

The Tuber Tuesday Taste Test

The one thing the grocery stores here in the Virgin Islands are full of is strange, unidentifiable root vegetables. Most of them are hard, thick-skinned, lumpy, dirty and just plain weird looking.  
     The other day I decided to buy a few of the funny tubers so we could try them. You can only imagine The Big Guy's excitment when I said, “Guess what? Tonight's weird root vegetable night.” 
     He didn't say it, but I saw the obvious question forming in his brain, which was, “Why can’t we just have potatoes?”  Before it even left his lips I gave him my one raised eyebrow look…the one that said, “don’t make me hurt you on Tuber Tuesday.” He's such a good sport when I put it that way!

I had three to sample: cassava, edos and tania.  The cassava had a thick skin with a waxy layer, which acts as a preservative, but makes it hard to peel unless you are using a machete. It also had a little happy trail running through it that my Google research said should be cut out. Alrighty then.

The edos were the easiest to peel of the three and were thinner skinned than the tania, which was a bit thinner skinned than the cassava.  Once I cut into them they all looked the same—bright white and dense.

I then cut them all into about the same size pieces and boiled them (separately) because that seemed to be the obvious way to cook them. The tania boiled up pretty fast, the edos turned a bit slimy and took on a grey tinge and the cassava took longer to boil than the other two.
     I mashed them without adding anything to them, just to check texture and taste. The cassava was hard to mash so I got out my little hand held stick blender and promptly turned it into bubble gum. It had a slightly sweet taste, but the texture was a definate turn off. 

Tania on the top; edos on the left and the ewww, bubblegum cassava on the right

     Moving right along to the tania…it was similar to cassava in appearance but unremarkable. Bland taste maybe a little bitter or off putting. The Big Guy was still making a face at this point.
     The edos were kind of slimy when peeled but they mashed up pretty moist and fluffy, not needing much liquid, but they tunred an odd grey/purple color and were slightly sweet with a dry smooth texture. Of the three I preferred them. The Big Guy would have preferred regular old mashed potatoes.

What I know for sure: There's a reason that there are an adundance of the weird tubers here. It's because THEY SUCK and no one buys them! I decided that when it comes to spuds I'll stick to what I know.

Then today at the Harbour Market I saw this weird fruit. “Hey, want to do a Freaky Fruit Friday?” I asked Big. He said something that sounded a lot like, “don't make me hurt you.”
On their way to the oven...
I make rosemary roasted potatoes a lot, like when I don't have cassava or edos on hand. 
Here they are 2 reds roasted with fresh rosemary and sea salt, then smashed and tossed with butter and sour cream...
And on their way to the table...

OR fingerlings skewered on rosemary sprigs and roasted.  Either way, BELIEVE me when I tell you that they are better than the ones from the Tuber Tuesday Taste Test.

I found these rosemary skewers at a little gourmet shop and they were perfect for this dish!

 Go to the Soups-Salads-Sides tab at the top of this page to get the reicpe.

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