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Shrimp and Yuca Gratin Appetizer (Escondidinho de Camarão)



"Escondidinho" is bar food in Brazil and it can also be prepared with different kinds of meat like chicken, ground beef, and carne-seca - the Brazilian Beef Jerky.

Serves 4


  • 1.5 pounds yuca root, peeled
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 12 oz large shrimp, cleaned and deveined, cut crosswise into 4 parts
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (or Catupiry, if available)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan


Place the yuca in a very large pan of water (if necessary cut the longest roots crosswise to fit into the pan) bring to a boil. Cover and cook on medium low heat until the roots are tender, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and remove the steam from the center. Add the milk and butter and smash with the help of a potato masher until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook stirring for 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. Add the rosemary and shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes or until the shrimp starts to curl. Stir in the cognac and season with salt and pepper. With the help of a large skimmer, remove the shrimp and set aside - it is ok if some pieces of onion and garlic are removed along with the shrimp.

To the same skillet, add the tomatoes and cook stirring occasionally until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and return the shrimp to the skillet. Fold in the mascarpone (or Catupiry,) scallions, and parsley.
Turn on the oven broiler. Place the shrimp sauce on the bottom of 4 medium individual ovenproof deep dishes. Top them with the mashed yuca and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Broil the individual dishes for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the top in golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


This delicious Brazilian appetizer in commonly ordered in bars, and people love it with a nice and cold beer. I am not a fan of beer, so I like it with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc – or a Caipirinha!

This appetizer can also be made with different kinds of meats, like chicken and ground beef. The most common version of “Escondidinho” is made with carne-seca, which is a Brazilian style Beef Jerky.

Instead of making 4 medium size appetizers, you can use 8 small dishes and serve smaller portions.

Traditionally this recipe is made with Catupiry, the Brazilian cream cheese. Since it is very hard to find it in the US, I recommend the Italian Mascarpone instead. The flavor is a little different (Catupiry is nuttier and a little saltier then Mascarpone,) but I guarantee it will be equally delicious!

Nutrition Facts:

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 457.8
Total Fat 19.7 g

Cholesterol 220.0 mg

Sodium 255.3 mg

Total Carbohydrate 13.7 g

Dietary Fiber 2.7 g

Sugars 0.7 g

Protein 20.0 g


This dish can be made ahead, just bake it right before serving.


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