I was causally strolling down the grocery aisle at my local supermarket the other day when I caught sight of this “unusual” tuber amongst the pile of root vegetables. Unusual because I dont recall ever seeing it there – I would have recognised it instantly, a tribute to my tropical and African heritage. Nonetheless, it was sitting right there, proudly between the sweet potatoes and the avocado pears, and my heart skipped a few beats!
Say hello to the humble cassava. Was i delighted at this piece of discovery? Damn right I was – In fact, I was ecstatic. You see, I have had a sort of evolving and interesting relationship with cassava for as long as I can remember. As a child, this was one of my least favourite vegetables for a few reasons, the main one being the preparation method. The most prevalent way of preparing cassava back home then (and still is) is to ferment and process it into other foodstuff like Gari or Fufu which are meant to be consumed by swallowing as opposed to chewing. As I had more of an inclination to chew my food, I was naturally averse to these sorts of dishes.
As an adult, my relationship with cassava has matured into one of pure love as my grown-up palate appreciates the nutty, earthy flavour of cassava which really comes into its own when paired with the right partner. I still have an inclination to chew my food – that has not changed! as this act of chewing gives me ample opportunity to savour and relish the flavours of the food for much longer, and so these days, I prefer to prepare my cassava in a way that affords me this simple pleasure. Introducing my adaptation of an old ugandan recipe for Cassava salad, which I hope you will enjoy. I have decided to pair my cassava with honey-mustard grilled salmon and oh joy awaits!!
what do you think?
AFRICAN CASSAVA & SALMON SALAD WITH VINAIGRETTE DRESSING (Serves 4)
Ingredients - For the Salad
- 2 cassava tubers (approx. 400g in weight) peeled and julienned
- 200g green beans washed and ends trimmed
- 24 cherry tomatoes
- A bunch of spring onions
- 1 small bunch of chives
Ingredients - For the Salad dressing
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 small garlic (crushed)
- A few sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 0.5 tablespoon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
- Peel and chop the cassava julienne-style. Add julienned cassava to a pot. Fill with water to completely cover the cassava. Season with salt and boil until cook. This should take approximately 30 minutes.
- While the cassava is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette dressing.
- Using a dash of oil, fry the crushed garlic and thyme for about 2 – 3 minutes until the aroma is released.
- In a glass bowl, combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, orange juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the garlic and thyme mix to the bowl and whisk until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined and emulsified. Set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
- When the cassava is almost done, snap the ends of your green beans and blanch.
- Drain the water from the cooked cassava, and serve with green beans, cherry tomatoes and a drizzle of vinaigrette dressing.
- Calories – 341.9, Total Fat – 14.4g, Protein – 3.4g, Carbohydrate – 52.6g