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Croatian Cuisine

One of the reasons I encourage you to visit Croatia is to dive into the country’s amazing gastronomy. The freshest grilled seafood, home-baked bread and local wine will make your entire trip unforgettable. The secret of Croatian cuisine lies in its simplicity. Local people don’t use sophisticated techniques in preparing food but rather rely on fresh ingredients and established traditions. Croatians use a lot of herbs, garlic and olive oil in cooking, giving preference to Dalmatian olive oil and a special grilling method gradelavanje.

Croatian cuisine is heavily based on but not limited to fish and seafood. Actually, mainland cuisine is different from the coastal one particularly because it includes delicious meat and game dishes such as grilled or roasted pork, lamb, veal, venison and many more.

Croatian Style Octopus Salad

Ingredients:
1 large octopus, cleaned and rinsed (preferably fresh, but can be frozen)
1 red onion
2 tomatoes
1 lemon
1 clove minced garlic
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons capers (optional)
olive oil
wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Cooking:
Pound the octopus with a mallet to soften the meat. Place it in a saucepan, add some water to just cover the octopus and simmer over medium heat for about 3 hours until the meat is completely tender. Let it cool in the same water, then cut the octopus into 1-inch cubes and place in a salad bowl. Add the chopped onion and tomatoes. Season the dish with olive oil, wine vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. Add capers for more flavors. As a variant, you can grill or bake the octopus. Delicious!

Seafood Pasta a la Buzzara

Ingredients:
3 lbs shellfish (shrimps, mussels, clams)
4-8 fl oz olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons tomato puree or paste
4-5 fl oz white wine
1 tablespoon cognac
1 tablespoon basil pesto
1 lemon
breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley
1 package pasta (I prefer spaghetti)

Cooking:
Heat olive oil in a pot or skillet. Add and sauté garlic until it turns golden-brown. Add shrimps and cook until they turn pink. Then add tomato puree and breadcrumbs, and mix it in. Season with salt and pepper and pour in wine and cognac. After that add the rest of the shellfish and flavor it with lemon juice and pesto. Boil over low heat for about 10 minutes and then add pasta and keep it on low heat until pasta is cooked (not too soft though). Add fresh parsley as a finishing touch and be prepared for some delicious awesomeness!

Links:
http://www.dalmatiancoast.com/
http://www.croatiatraveller.com/
http://dalmatiancooking.com/
http://www.croatianrecipes.org/
http://www.ilivetocook.com/

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