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Steamed mussels with yucca fries

(Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
April 21, 2010

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Serves 4

This menu staple at Masona Grill in West Roxbury is a hit with his daughters and their friends after school, says chef and owner Manny Sifnugel. Before cooking, discard any mussels with cracked shells. Remove the beards by pulling them off.

YUCCA

2 yucca roots (about 2 pounds), peeled and cut into 2-inch batons
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup olive oil
Paprika (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 400 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a saucepan, combine the yucca, cold water to cover, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Cut away any veins at the heart of the root. Pat the yucca dry.

3. In a large bowl, toss the yucca and olive oil. Spread the yucca on the baking sheet in one layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until the fries are crisp and lightly golden. Sprinkle with salt and paprika.

MUSSELS

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
4 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed and debearded
1/2 cup water
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of crushed red pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until hot. Add the garlic and scallions. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

2. Add the mussels and turn lightly so they’re coated all over. Add the water, lemon juice, butter, red pepper, and a pinch of salt.

3. Cover the skillet the cook for 3 minutes, shaking the pan often, or until the mussels open. Discard any that do not open. Taste the cooking juices and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Serve with yucca fries.

Adapted from Manny Sifnugel