I recently gave some oca tubers to a good friend and wonderful chef – Bernadette O’Shea. As you can read below she was most impressed about this old/new crop and gave me some culinary suggestions. Don’t forget – the potato was once a new crop in Ireland and it came from the same area as the oca. I really think that within a few years you’ll find oca tubers for sale in shops.
This year I’m planning to go on a vegetable trip to South America – to discover more of the Lost Crops of the Incas. I have obviously been inspired by Joy Larkcom who travelled throughout Europe and Asia to discover the most amazing crops which we all have available now in Ireland.
Bernadette O’Shea’s Oca Recipes
“So loved the Oca you gave me. I’d love to see this vegetable widely available on menus. Even the “ridgey”, fingerling look of them. Reminds me of both Jerusalem artichoke and the tiny Chinese artichoke. Easy to prepare – a good scrub but no peeling. I steamed, boiled, roasted and prepared raw and half cooked. To roast I tossed them in duck fat but it could have been olive oil. Really delicious. A little crunchy on the outside and soft and delicate on the inside. For variety I tossed them in hot chilli oil, ginger and chopped coriander. Divine. The half steamed Oca I dressed in a light vinaigrette which were perfect with a green salad. I have heard that some people describe the interior as lemony. For me there is no hint of lemon. I found them a little “sour” – unlike our potatoes- but the tartness adds to their distinct difference and the texture was curiously almost a cross between a “floury” and a “waxy” potato. These little vegetables when raw and sliced thinly give a great crunch in a salad and particularly delicious when tossed in a Thai style dressing. Partially cooked , sliced and added to a mayonnaise dressing with chopped shallots is really delicious. Baked and served with sour cream for dipping is good or any other preferred dip. I toasted walnuts, chopped and added them to my version of Gremolata – chopped parsley , zest of lemon, finely diced garlic, finely chopped dill , a crushed anchovy ( leave out if vegan) all combined into slightly runny dressing with olive oil and a good twist of black pepper and salt to taste. I tossed the steamed Oca while still hot in the Gremolata. Simply divine. Try it. I’d love if the farming community would be more adventurous with crops like this. Surely we have a perfect climate for them? I understand that the Oca is full of nutrients and great for carbohydrate . So glad to hear that you have the plants. Now we can grow them at home and look forward to digging them out in the autumn.”
The above Oca Recipes are from the wonderful chef – Bernadette O’Shea