Another wonderful week at Palacio de Piedras Albas. Perfect weather, super guests and the bonus of watching the Corpus Christi fiesta from the loggia of the palacio.

We tried some new recipes and ingredients during the week. It seems that
cassava/manioc/yuca was not familiar with any of our guests so making some intensely flavoured and delicious yuquitas as tapas was fun, the boiled yuca is sticky and makes it easy to form into these pefect balls.These have a Extremadura twist with the addition of jamon.
Here is the recipe.

Yuquitas Rellenas
Yuca is a root vegetable, also known as cassava and manioc root. It can be peeled and boiled just like potatoes, and it's a staple food in many parts of South America. These crispy little balls are made by shaping the mashed yuca around  queso fresco and jamon, then rolling them in bread crumbs and frying them until golden brown. The result is a crispy shell around a soft starchy filling, with melted cheese in the very middle. Fried yuca balls are excellent dipped in a spicy salsa.
•1 kilo of yuca root
• 100 g queso fresco and 100 g jamon mashed together
•1 egg
•2 slices of bread
•10 saltine crackers
•Vegetable oil for frying
•Salt and pepper to taste
•HuancaĆ­na sauce for dipping 
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the yuca root and cut it into 3 inch long pieces.
2. Add the yuca to the boiling water and cook for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the yuca is very tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. It should be fall apart when poked with the fork.
3. Drain the yuca in a colander. Remove as many of the woody stems from the center of the root as possible. Pass the yuca through a potato ricer, or force it through a colander, to remove any remaining fibrous strings.
4. Season the mashed yuca with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Place 2 tablespoons of mashed yuca in the palm of one hand. Make a small well in the middle, and place a piece of cheese in the well. Wrap the mashed yuca around the cheese and jamon and roll between your hands to make a round ball. Repeat with the remaining mashed yuca.
6. In a deep skillet or deep fat fryer, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil to 360 degrees. Fry the yuca balls in batches until lightly golden. Drain on paper towels.
7.Crack 1 egg into a bowl and whisk lightly with a fork. Process the bread with the crackers.
8.Roll each ball in the egg and then in the bread/cracker crumbs, until well coated with crumbs.
9.Fry the yuca balls a second time, just until they are golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels and serve warm with huancaĆ­na sauce for dipping.
Note: Yuquitas can be kept warm in a 200 degree oven for 30 minutes until ready to serve.

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