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How do I prepare yuca?

Okay, so we went to Miami, and found a fantastic (not vegetarian, but 
vegetarian options available) Cuban restaurant on Calle Ocho as recommended 
by someone on the list (I'm sorry that my mind doesn't retain the source).  
The wonderful things on my combo plate were black beans, rice, plantains, and 
yuca.  I was in heaven, even though it was too much starch.  Perhaps it was 
the mojito (Cuban alcoholic beverage with rum and fresh mint and garnished 
with a stick of sugar cane) that put me in the clouds, but now I wonder, how 
does one cook yuca?  It was a starchy potato-like thing and the waiter said 
they boil it and then put garlic salt on it.  Frankly, I could have done 
without the garlic salt (too artificial and salty, though on such a bland veg 
it might be called for), maybe just a touch of garlic (the real stuff).  Our 
green grocer carries yuca.  Do I peel it first and then boil it, or boil it 
and then peel it?  Or do I just ask the Mexicans who tend the market?  Any 
other recipes out there for yuca?   Please e-mail privately if recipes don't 
follow the list's rules.

As a grower/Landscape Architect I am interested in the botanical information. 
 If there is a botanist out there, will you help me out?  I imagine that this 
is really a species of Yucca.  Anyone know the species name and in what zone 
it grows?

By the way, Miami was fun, South Beach was frenetic (but fun), and the sun 
was warm enough to actually thaw out these cold and old Chicago 'burbs bones 
if but for only a short time.

Ruth in the quickly thawing 40 degree Chicago 'burbs