- Written by Cynthia Presser
When I participated in the ABC show “The Taste” I had the honor to serve this traditional Brazilian recipe to four amazing culinary talents: Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Ludo Lafebvre and Brian Malarkey. After trying the “bite” I served, they gave me great intake on ways to improve the flavors and texture of my recipe (especially Ludo). I was very appreciative and certainly took their advice seriously. So this is my ultimate Shrimp and Yuca Brazilian-Style Gratin. I added the extra spices and crunchy textures they thought I was missing and I proudly present you the best “Escondidinho de Camarão” ever! Enjoy with a caipirinha, just like the Brazilians!
- 1.5 pounds yuca root, peeled
- ¼ cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- Salt and fresh ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 3 large tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili paste
- ¼ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 12 ounces large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (or Catupiry, if available)
- ½ cup farofa (chick here for recipe)
Place yuca in a large sauce pan and cover with water of water (if necessary cut the longest roots crosswise to fit into the pan).Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until roots are tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and remove the steams. Add half and half and butter. Using a potato masher, mash yuca until everything is blended. You can use a food processor for a smoother texture. Season with salt and set aside.
To a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add onion and cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and rosemary; cook until fragrant, an additional minute. Reduce heat to medium; add tomatoes and chili paste. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in cilantro. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
To a large skillet over high heat, add the remaining olive oil. When oil starts shimmering, add shrimp and sauté until turns pink and start curling. Stir in bourbon. If alcohol flames keep stirring until flames die. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Fold shrimp and any liquids from the skillet into tomato sauce.
Turn on the oven broiler. Place the shrimp sauce on the bottom of 4 medium individual ovenproof deep dishes. Spread one tablespoon of mascarpone over shrimp sauce. Top with yuca purée and broil 3 to 4 minutes, until the top in golden brown. Carefully remove from the oven and sprinkle top with farofa. Serve immediately.
Traditionally this recipe is made with Catupiry, the Brazilian cream cheese, but since it is very hard to find it in the US, mascarpone serves as a good substitute.