Oca are like a lighter, sharper-tasting version of the potato. Guy grows them on Riverford's French farm with great results: planted in March, they grow steadily through the summer before swelling into edible tubers in late autumn. They are Peruvian in origin, but are commonly known as New Zealand yams, and are used much like potatoes in both countries. Oca can be eaten raw or cooked, and are characterised by a distinct lemony taste that lessens with cooking.
Oca can be cooked in many ways; roasted, mashed or fried. It loses its bright pink colour and a little of its zesty flavour, but retains enough to be interesting.
- 200g oca, washed well, left unpeeled
- Oil for roasting, e.g. light olive, sunflower or rapeseed
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Cut any large oca into chunks so they’re all roughly the same size.
- Toss in just enough oil to coat and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 15 minutes for very small ones, 20-25 minutes or so for larger oca, until just tender when pierced with a knife.