Malanga (Yautia, Taro) is a root with white flesh and brown skin which turns slightly gray when boiled. It flavor resembles that of a white potato and it is used the same way. It is boiled, deep fried, or added to soups. I decided to make it as a gratin. So here is the results and it was very good.
- 3 ½ to 4 pounds malanga (Cuban sweet potato), peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces, plus extra for the casserole
- 3 to 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup heavy cream (or fat free whipping cream)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
- ½ lemon zest
- Place the sliced Malanga in a bowl with cold water to cover. Leave for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. Remove from the cloudy water, and dry with a clean towel.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Butter the bottom and sides of an earthenware baking casserole, about 3 1/2 inches deep, and large enough to fit all the potatoes (very large). If you have no round ceramic pan, use an ordinary baking pan. Sprinkle about half the garlic along the edges of the buttered sides of the pan.
- Make a layer of Malanga, dot with butter pieces, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with a few spoonfuls of cream, scatter a little garlic on top, then repeat in this fashion until all the potatoes have been used. End the top with a dabbing of butter, the last slosh of cream, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- Bake for an hour to an hour and a half, or until the Malangas are very tender and have absorbed all the cream; the top of the potatoes should be golden brown with darker brown splotches here and there. This is a very rustic dish and by its very nature is very forgiving time wise; if you need more time, lower the oven’s heat, and to speed the cooking up and give it a nice dark topping, raise the heat to 400°F for the last 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve in its own casserole, or dish up individual portions, sprinkling each with a little chopped fresh cilantro and the zest of lemon.