An Oca Tale

James Waddick
Wed, 02 Dec 2009 21:26:13 PST
Dear Friends,

	As an admitted "foodie", one of this list's CA members took 
pity on my request and sent me a pound of fresh, in season,  Oca, 
Oxalis tuberosa. This is a tuberous vegetable domesticated by the 
Incans and other highland peoples of the Andes in South America. The 
only edible member of the genus, a favorite of some of this list 
growers. There are hundreds of edible varieties. The tubers were 
about 1/2 deep pink and bumpy, while the other half was medium yellow 
and smooth. They reminded me of fingerling potatoes in size and 
shape. I started with one pound and took out 2 medium tubers of each 
color to pot up - out of curiosity.

	After reading about handling, storage and preparation of this 
tuber, I decided to store them in the refrigerator vegetable drawer 
in a sealed zip-loc plastic bag. Theoretically this would improve the 
flavor and make the tubers sweeter in flavor. After 5 weeks in the 
fridge, today I took them out. Peeling them was a bit of a pain - 
they are small, the skin especially of the bumpy red variety came off 
in many small pieces and it took both vegetable peeler and paring 
knife to get a final 'product'.

	I heated a small amount of Olive Oil (EVOO) and sliced the 
Oca diagonally into about 1/4 inch slices and into the medium hot 
oil. I sprinkled  salt, pepper and some granulated garlic. They 
browned quickly and became slightly crispy around the edges. I was 
surprised how quickly they became soft. I thought they might take as 
long as similar size potato slices, but these were much quicker. 
They shrank a fair amount as they cooked.

	They were served hot along with baked chicken breast and left 
over vegetable: Green Bean casserole (from T-Day), sauteed Kohlrabi 
and whole yellow Hominy. There were two diners, my companion and 

	The texture was very similar to a soft fried potato, but the 
flavor was very sweet and mild. No hint of oxalic acid (as expected) 
and no bitterness. Both of us thought they had excellent texture and 
flavor, and were delicious.

	We both said 'More Oca !' .

	These were definitely a tasty treat if only more accessible 
to my midwest wishes. I hope more people will try them.

		Thanks	Liz.				Best		Jim W.

Dr. James W. Waddick
8871 NW Brostrom Rd.
Kansas City Missouri 64152-2711
Ph.    816-746-1949
Zone 5 Record low -23F
	Summer 100F +

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