Sunday, June 26, 2011

Costa Rica: Parte 1

Hola! It's good to be back. I've actually been back in the states for a week but I've been doing laundry, spending time with family, and getting back into my routine. I can't wait to share all of my food adventures in Costa Rica with you all! I've decided to post about Costa Rica in several parts. Since I was there for a month I ate a ton of food. And I've decided to start with the most important dish in Costa Rica.

Gallo Pinto. For all of my non-Spanish speaking readers, gallo pinto literally means painted rooster (even though there is no rooster in the dish). Traditionally, gallo pinto is made using leftover rice and black beans. It is typically a breakfast dish, even though it can be eaten any time of the day. Nicaraguans also claim that gallo pinto originated in there country, but don't let a Costa Rican here you say that because you'll be in big trouble.

Gallo pinto originated as peasant food. There are two explanations behind the name "gallo pinto". The first, and most likely, is that the name was given to hide the fact that there is no meat in dish. Historically, meat was expensive and hard to come by. The other explanation is that the dish is "painted" with the specks of cilantro and peppers that color the dish.

Gallo pinto, as stated earlier, is made with leftover beans and rice. It is flavored with onions and liberal amounts of cilantro. In Costa Rica, a sauce called San Lizano is also used. Because it is a breakfast dish it is usually served with eggs, tortillas, cheese, and fresh fruit or fried plantains. And I can tell you from personal experience that gallo pinto is ridiculously delicious. In fact, I even brought a bottle of San Lizano back to the states with me so I can cook an authentic version. And that recipe will be coming very, very soon.

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