Mussels with Yucca Fries

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Moules frites is one of my favorite dishes to set out for people to nibble on. This version gives the traditional Belgian dish a Latin makeover substituting yucca fries for the potato based frites. I first tried yucca fries at the Latin American markets in New York and was immediately won over by their bold, intense flavor. The broth, flavored with bacon, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, is quick to put together. This s a great dish to make for a group.


Prep Details

Servings: 4

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


For the Mussels:

3 slices bacon, 1/2-in dice

2 shallots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tbsp chopped thyme

2 tbsp finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp salt

1 cup white wine

3 lbs mussels, de-beared and scrubbed

2 tbsp unsalted butter

juice from 1 lemon

2 tbsp parsley

2 tbsp chopped arugula

For the Yucca Fries:

1/2 tbsp smoked paprika

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

3 lbs yucca, peeled and cut into sticks 1/4-in thick and 4-in long

6 cups grapeseed oil


For the Mussels:

Heat a large straight-sided sauté pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and sauté until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes, then add the shallots, garlic and thyme and sauté until softened, for another 3 minutes. Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, crushed tomatoes, paprika, salt and wine. Bring to a simmer and add the mussels and cover. Steam until mussels open, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

Discard any unopened mussels. Stir in the butter, lemon juice, parsley and arugula and serve with toasted bread and Yucca Fries (see below).

For the Yucca Fries:

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt and cayenne pepper and mix well. Set aside.

Bring 10 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the yucca and blanch until just tender, about 4 minutes, then remove from heat and drain. Pat dry.

Heat the oil in a deep pot to 350° F. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot, carefully drop the fries into the hot oil and stir to keep them from sticking together. Fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil with a skimmer or slotted spoon and let drain on paper towels to absorb excess oil. Sprinkle with the spice mix and serve immediately.