And just like that, summer is officially here. And I love it. Even though I say so many hateful words when it is too hot to handle, when I can’t sleep at night, or when I’m in the mood for relaxing but I can’t because – it is too hot. But despite all those small disagreements, summer is a beautiful season! Mostly because the vacation is almost here but also because of all the dishes and recipes which are reserved for those days on the Croatian coast and islands.
In that honor, I want to present all those dishes which are a part of Croatian classic summer menu. And yes, most of them are based on the fish and seafood, but hey, it is summer, and it is about time to indulge in all those Mediterranean flavors!
So which dishes are a must during the summer? Let’s find out!
Istrian ombolo is a true delicacy – the meat is a part of a pork chop rubbed with salt, paper, and bay leaf, and then dried for 3 weeks. Ombolo is surely one of the finest meats you will ever taste – traditionally, it is served with olive oil, eggs, and bread. And it will completely seduce your palate!
If you’re going on a vacation in Istria, then you’re in for a treat! Istria is known for its amazing indigenous pasta and the most famous one is called fuži. Fuži is spindle-looking pasta which has small hole in the middle of its body in order to let the sauce intertwine with the dough and provide an excellent palette of flavors. Fuži are served with simple tomato sauce, meat, seafood, and other ingredients which beautifully combine with pasta.
In probably every restaurant on the Croatian coast and islands, you can find risotto. It can be prepared as a creamy white combination of rice and prawns, shrimps, or shells, or it can be prepared as a traditional black risotto with cuttlefish which gives the rice that unique black coloring. Whichever your choice, you and your taste buds will love it!
For a true refreshment from the sunbathing and swimming, a nice and cold octopus salad is a must. The salad amazingly combines freshly cooked octopus, potatoes, parsley, garlic, olive oil, and a few drops of lemon which give that special touch to the final flavors. This is quite a delicious dish which will bring you the best flavors of the sea depths!
Buzara is a specific cooking method of shrimps, mussels, and other shells. It basically means that the ingredients are cooked in water and white wine with a touch of garlic, olive oil, and parsley. Now, I’m not going to lie – mussels on buzara are probably my favorite dish ever and I could eat it all year long! Buzara is a true summer specialty and due to that – a must try!
Speaking of shells – have you ever tried oysters? And if not, what are you waiting for? I know this dish you either love or hate but it really is a summer classic – oysters are served fresh and with just a bit of lemon and olive oil so you can truly meet their amazing flavors and nuances.
On the island of Vis, there is a delicious trademark dish called Komiža’s bread. This is a homemade bread with outstanding filling made of salted anchovies, tomato sauce, oregano, olives, and parsley. All the ingredients create an amazing palette of the best Mediterranean flavors, aromas, and nuances.
This cold-cut is a must – Dalmatian prosciutto is a delicacy with quite specific and unique flavors which will be really hard to forget once you let them seduce your taste buds. Usually, prosciutto is served in the combination with local cheese and homemade bread. Add a glass of red wine to the combination and you’re ready to enjoy that gastronomy adventure!
I like to call rožata a queen of all the desserts because it is simply glamorous, elegant, and delicious (and it basically needs just a couple of ingredients to make). Rožata presents a traditional Dalmatian pudding with a caramel dressing. It beautifully combines vanilla flavoring, orange peel, rose liqueur, and sugary caramel, and it is served cold – truly perfect summer dessert!
For a simple, yet delicious snack for these hot summer days, make sure to try kroštule! Kroštule are small, knot-shaped sweets covered in powdered sugar. They can be found on almost every food street cart, as well as during those fun fisherman’s nights. But what’s interesting about kroštule is that almost every household, town, and island has its own specific recipe for this dessert – so you’ll never try the same recipe twice!
Okay, so these are the main summer dishes to which I turn to whenever the calendar says that summer is officially here. And sometimes even earlier.
Summer menu should be a bit lighter, based on fresh, simple, and everyday ingredients, without complications and tough recipes.
Croatian coast and islands nurture Mediterranean diet which is perfect for this season – simple, delicious, and truly to-die-for! Due to that, let me open the summer gastronomy season by saying – let the indulging in delicious food begin!