#25 Costa Rica - Patacones and Black Bean DipFootball:
My memory of the first Costa Rican to make it big in the English Premiership is of Paulo Wanchope, a tall gangly player that often looked awkward, but had a devastating finish. I remember his debut for Derby County against Manchester United at Old Trafford back in 1997 – or I remember him for a single incident on that debut. From the halfway line he belted up the pitch taking on 3 or 4 Manchester United players, before opening up his body and from the edge of the box slotting past the then best keeper in the world, Peter Schmeichel. It was devastating football against the then best team in England, and he was only 20 years old at the time. As a local radio commentator put it "Wanchope treated Manchester United’s defence … with absolute contempt"
Italia 1990 put Costa Rica on the map. Not only was it their first ever time qualifying for the World Cup, but they defeated Scotland and Sweden to progress to the last 16. This time round the bad news for the opposition is that Wanchope is the assistant coach and has instilled in Costa Rica that they can beat anyone – Uruguay, England or Italy. Watch out for Bryan Ruiz as the creative centre forward along with the speed of Joel Campbell and the wise head of Álvaro Saborio. Costa Rica conceded the least goals in their qualifying group and will need to be resolute in defence again against potentially lethal opposition in their group.The Dish:
For this dish I have used two of the most important ingredients in Costa Rican cuisine: plantains and black beans.
Plantains are a species of banana, usually reserved for a particular type which is specially grown for its virtues as a vegetable. The word plantain also usually denotes a green unripe banana, which I found out after a failed first attempt at this dish. The unripe plantain shows little of the sweet and banana characteristics of the ripened version, and must be cooked prior to eating. Costa Ricans love to deep fry plantains in to fritters known as patacones. In my first attempt I tried to deep fry a ripened plantain which ended up as a splodge of sweet browned banana. The green version worked an absolute treat though.
Costa Ricans love their black beans and a black bean dip can be found in many restaurants throughout the country. I have made a version which stays true to the Costa Rican version and is devastatingly wicked with the crispy and soft patacones. This is a perfect football snack.Click here for the recipe: http://www.duckandroses.com/2720/costa-rica-patacones-and-black-bean-dip/
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