The ridges on cassava provide a high ratio of crisp shell to fluffy interior, so there’s no need for any wizardry here. The duck fat makes this extra-special, but olive oil also works really well, if you’d prefer to make this vegan. You can get ready-peeled and frozen cassava from Asian food shops.
3 medium cassava roots (1.8kg)
8 garlic cloves, skin on
80ml duck fat, melted
For the salsa
50g coriander, finely chopped
70ml olive oil
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2 red chillies, deseeded, flesh finely chopped
Salt and black pepper
1. Cut the cassava into 5cm-long pieces, then cut these in half and, using a small sharp knife, peel off any brown and pink skin, leaving you with only the white part of the root. Cut out the woody vein in the middle of root, then put the cassava pieces in a bowl.
2. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil, then drop in the cassava and cook at a furious boil for 25 minutes, until a knife goes through it easily and it is no longer opaque. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 240C (220C fan)/475F/gas 9.
3. Drain the cassava well and put on a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper. Pour the duck fat over the cassava pieces, scatter in the garlic cloves and sprinkle over half a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Stir to coat everything, then roast for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Spoon the garlic cloves on to a small plate and leave to cool. Using a large spoon, smash the cassava pieces, turning them over in the fat as you go, then return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes, until crisp and golden.
4. Once the roast garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze all the flesh out of the skins, then chop it finely. Put this in a small bowl with all the salsa ingredients and a half-teaspoon of salt, mix to combine and set aside.
5. Spoon the roast cassava into a large shallow bowl, spoon half the salsa on top and serve with the rest on the side.