It recently occurred to me that I have written very little about Costa Rican food. A bit odd when you consider that not only do I live in Costa Rica but I am also half-Costa Rican and grew up eating Tico food. It may be cliché but for me beans and especially rice is the ultimate comfort food. In the next few weeks I plan to share my culinary heritage by posting Tico recipes, that with some help from other talented cooks, have been tweaked to maintain traditional tastes while being vegetarian or vegan.
Today we start with a seasonal ingredient, Flor de Itabo which are yucca flowers. If you live in the southwest no doubt you seem them everyday. The petals of this beautiful white flower is edible. In Costa Rica markets and roadside full of Flor de Itabo branches mark the coming of Easter known here as Semana Santa since it blooms March though April.
Flor de Itabo is an excellent source of vitamin C and contains iron, phosphorus and niacin, as well as fiber. The petals are edible but the rest of the flower is bitter. Petals can become bitter if pinched, damaged or too old. Sort of like an old maid on Downton Abbey.
Most recipes are egg based such omelets (torta in Costa Rica). I have heard there are non-Costa Rican recipes for tomato-based soups that call for yucca flowers. For me eggs and Flor de Itabo go together like peanut butter and jelly. They naturally complement one another so why mess with generations of tradition? Plus how can you resist the chance to eat what is literally scrambled eggs and flowers?
Torta de Flor de Itabo
Peel 5 small potatoes and boil. Then roughly mash and set aside.