Saturday, May 31, 2014
Oca, An Unusual Vegetable
Oca is relatively unknown in the United States but very popular in New Zealand, Mexico and South America. It is a vegetable similar to a potato but much harder to clean. They are about the length of your finger in size. To me they they look like a small wrinkly red carrot. The top of the plant reminds me of a succulent with tiny flowering shamrocks. You can fry, boil, steam, roast, dry or even eat raw. According to Wikipedia oca is a wood sorrel of the Andes, cultivated in South America for its edible tubers.
We planted tubers last April, and I harvested the plants a few days ago. They probably were in the ground too long, but we did not have much of a choice at the time. When in the ground they looked this this.
When first dug up, they look like this. The leaves and flowers are edible and would be great in a salad. There are many tiny little roots.
I roasted these in the oven with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper for about 25 minutes at 350F. The result was very surprising. Raw they were crunchy and a little sour. Roasted they were tangy, almost like they were cooked with vinegar. I think they would make a nice dish when roasted alongside of other root vegetables or cut-up raw in a salad.