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Published Friday, September 25, 2020

What was the first Costa Rican
traditional food you had?

By Melissa Pette

Let's start by thanking everyone who has taken their time to write. Thanks for the words of encouragement, questions and advice. I really appreciate it.

Speaking about tips, last week our friend Lauren Jones shared her cannelloni prawns recipe. Take a look at her recipe on the AM Costa Rica Food page. For those who wonder what type of white wine was required, well she said that "you can use any type of wine that you like more."

But, for those looking for dry sherry wine or dry white wine, or some special type of wine that they cannot find in the supermarket, well, I found this place, Vicosa. They specialize in wine and delicious spirits. They sell Teber or La Casa dry white wine, among many others. If you are looking for a special liquor call (506) 2487-5587.

Another tip, for those who ask me, "Exactly how much is a pinch of salt and pepper ?" Well, imagine you are pinching your hubby, or wife, or girlfriend, or boyfriend, or both, or a stranger walking right next to you! That pinch of love is the same as adding a pinch of salt and another of pepper to your food.

Love is the best ingredient for all meals, don't you think?.... No more wine for Melissa please.

I’ll continue.

I could say that we all love the sea, especially seafood. Sailor rice is a typical recipe from the coastal areas here, especially on the Caribbean coast. I'm more a Pacific coast kind of traveler, but will never forget the Sailor rice that I had in Limón. It was in a small place (the Red Snapper) with incredible landscapes and delicious food. I hope they can reopen.

That brings me to introduce our new friend, Ryan McClarkin from Falmouth in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

And I said before and I will say it again, when boys like cooking they are very good. 

So, the story of Ryan may look familiar to many of us. He ran away from "a cold town, and I'm not just talking about the weather." He said he wanted "to find this little piece of Eden."

Ryan made the big jump from Falmouth to Orotina, in Alajuela Province. He lives alone and says he is looking for his "soul mate". So girls, you are already informed!

Ryan shares his "Red seafood soup" recipe with us. He says he "learned” about cooking while working at a restaurant in his hometown.

Red seafood soup

By Ryan McClarkin,
From Falmouth, Massachusetts
Living in Orotina, Alajuela

The ingredients for four people are:

• 400 grams of fish fillet (you can use either bass fish or tilapia or whatever you like more).

• 1 cup of mussels (or any crawfish)

• 1 cup of peeled medium-size shrimp

• 1 1/2 liters of fish broth.

• 5 chopped sweet red chili peppers

• 2 tablespoons garlic pasta

• 1/2 minced white onion

• 1/2 minced purple onion.

• 8 medium-size clams

• 2 tbsp annatto

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1 teaspoon pepper

• 1 sour acid lemon

• 1/4 cup cilantro

The fish broth. First, in a large pot, add 1 and 1/2 liters of water (high heat). When it is boiling add the fish. Do not stir the fish. Let it cook for 10 minutes. Remove the fish and let it cool in a topped container.

The sauce. In another pot, add half of the fish broth, add the chopped sweet red pepper, onions, annatto and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes. Let it cool. Then, blend the whole thing. Followed by straining the sauce.

Seafood. In the first pot (the one with the rest of the fish broth), add the rest of the shellfish (make sure you have washed the mussels and clams very well). Cook for at least 10 minutes on high heat, all the while stirring.

Then, reduce to low heat and add the previously boiled fish and the sauce. Stir gently for 5 more minutes.

When serving, add the cilantro and a spoon of acidic lemon juice.

"In my hometown, people had soup adding bread or crackers. I like to have a good cold beer after eating red seafood soup," Ryan said.

Pura Vida and Salud!

Editor's note: Email your comments or inquiries to Melissa Pette at

Do you want to share your recipes with AM Costa Rica readers? Send your homemade recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish to


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