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Culinary Obsession in Boquete Panama

When in the northland all food items seem to available at all times, here in Boquete things are seasonal and fortuitous. This week has been a cornucopia of seasonal treats and coupled with some always available items I have been having some kitchen fun.

Start with a selection like this outside of Romero in Boquete yesterday.

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It is the season for the giant Guanabana, above, a source of a great liquido, just peel, remove the seeds and put the pulp into a blender.

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The bagged fruit above is called Pífa in Chriqui and has different names in other areas. Once boiled for several hours it is a very unusually flavored pre-colombian staple food.

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These bundles were new to me, the local name in mamon, a suck, and indeed if you peel them the big seed is covered with a sweet and tart flesh that is to quote my daughter, yummy. Cost $1 a bunch or you can climb a tree and pick them yourself.

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When I first came to Panama I searched for Cilantro,  no more, the Culantro above has much the same flavor and is literally a weed here.

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These Mangos are growing in the Amigos parking lot, just a little longer for some to fall into my hand.

I was in Amigos Tuesday and while there, incoming vendors sold me tomatoes and avocados. The avocados  stimulated this following made in Boquete Guacamole.

The components.

2 -3 avocados, depending on the size

1 small red onion, in the mercado municipal

1 or more hot chili pepper, Super Baru has jalapeños and orange Peruvian peppers I prefer

2 tablespoons of chopped culantro, if it is not growing in your yard you can get in the Municipal Market

Juice of one half a local lemon, lemons here are often Seville oranges, orange in color and very tart

1/2 tsp or more salt to taste

1 ripe roma tomato, seeds removed, municipal market again

The process

Cut the avocados in half, remove the seed and spoon out the flesh into a mixing bowl, mash with a potato masher or fork.

Cut and remove the seeds and fiber from the chili pepper.

Chop the onion, culantro, chili and tomato as fine as you wish and add to the avocado

add the salt and squeeze in the lemon juice

Mix it all together and refrigerate for at least an hour, then break out the chips and beer.

As a foot note, I should add Miguel the fish guy had a beautiful clear eyed Tuna at the market yesterday. I bought a kilo of loin for $10.82, less than $4.50 a pound. I watched him cut the loin from the fish, I knew the tuna was only hours out of the sea from the clear eyes. This fish needs no cooking, only wasabi and I cannot find my wasabi!

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Comments

  1. My first visit to Panama occurred in the season of pixbae / pejibaye / cachipay / pibá / pifá / peach palm. I remember being offered a plate of them, freshly roasted, by a friendly construction worker at Isla Palenque. I had difficulty describing them to folks in Chicago upon my return… nutty? savory? The texture is something between a starchy tuber and a fleshy fruit. Whatever. I’m glad it’s pibá season again and that I’m in Panama for it.

  2. Pixbae = Poor mans Viagra is how it was described to me. Enjoy!

  3. Lee, that tuna looks wonderful. We are moving there at last! Should be there in about 6 weeks. I will bring some tubes of Wasabi for sure as we love the sashimi.

  4. Lee,

    Your talents are inestimable !!!

    Bon apetite !!

    Your friends,

    Maxx & Deborah

  5. You are both missed!!

  6. I think the pewa tastes like a cross between an artichoke and a boiled peanut, with the texture of macadamia nut. Mmmmmmm, yummy

  7. Re: Jane Derry
    A paradoxical, and apt, description of pibá. It’s best to simply tell someone “pruebalo” and hand them one.

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