The 2010 FIFA World Cup is heating up this week, with the eight remaining teams fighting for their life in a single-elimination tournament.  That means there’s still time left to hold a knock-out World Cup party, cheering on your favorite team (USA is already out, by the way) with a dish or two from their native lands.

     Tuesday’s match at 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time promises to be exciting, with the two countries of the Iberian Peninsula going head to head. Spain’s cuisine is world famous, but Portugal’s lesser-known cuisine poses a serious threat, offering exotic flavors that reflect its former power as a sea-faring explorer.   

    Manuel Azevedo, chef/owner of La Salette in Sonoma, has long championed the continental and colonial cuisine of Portugal at his Wine Country restaurant. Here is a recipe he shared 10 years ago, when his restaurant had been open just two years.  

    Mozambique Prawns are seasoned with Piri Piri, an African chile pepper often used to spice up Portuguese food. The prawns are then grilled and served with a tomato-peanut sauce, coconut rice and sauteed plantains.  For more information on Azevedo, go to lasalette-restaurant.com. For more information on Portugal’s soccer team, go to portuGOAL.net.
   

    MOZAMBIQUE PRAWNS
    Serves 6

    2 pounds medium prawns, peeled and deveined (save shells)

    Sauce:
    1/2 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)
    2 cups tomato juice
    1 tablespoon peanut butter (fresh in processor or from jar)
    Piri Piri to taste
   
    Piri Piri spice blend:
    2 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1/2 teaspoon chile powder
    Pinch of cayenne (this blend should have some kick)
    Pinch of sugar
    Pinch of allspice
   
    Rice:
    2 cups long grain rice
    1 cup coconut milk
    3 cup water
    Salt and white pepper to taste
    2 plantains, sliced thin at a diagonal
    Roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro for garnish
   
    Mix together the Piri Piri spice blend.
    In a sauce pot, combine shells, tomato sauce, 1/2 cup coconut milk, peanut butter.
    Bring to a boil, stirring often, and season with Piri Piri spice to taste (not too spicy).
    Bring to a boil again and strain out shells.
    Combine rice ingredients. Bring to a boil, Reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
    Cook 25 minutes.
    Season plantains with salt and white pepper and saute with vegetable oil, on both sides, until brown and soft.
    Season prawns with Piri Piri spice and grill on an oiled grill until cooked through. On a warmed plate, place the rice in the middle, sauce around, shrimp against the rice, plantain in between the shrimp and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.