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Cooking Croatia: Inspiring Summer Food

Cooking Croatia: Inspiring Summer Food

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Tamara Novacoviç provides some useful inspiration for delicious Mediterranean summer dining.
By Tamara Novacoviç

Summer continues… I continue to love it and enjoy every minute and day of it. There’s not a lot of summer left so we might as well enjoy any given sunny and hot day.

I was on a short vacation recently, on a cute island, and already can’t wait to go back. Besides swimming in a beautiful sea and enjoying the beach, we also indulged in delicious treats.  I tend to eat lighter food during summer, what are your favorite summer ingredients? Our body asks for more fluid during warm weather and craves for light and refreshing food. Heavier versions are left for colder months. This article contains no recipe, just a couple of ideas for light and healthy meals.

A great addition to any meal or a lovely warm appetizer are mushrooms. Packed with healthy proteins, mushrooms are a good diet choice. We like to spice them up a bit-fill them and grill them. You take out the stem and chop it into tiny pieces, combine with some herbs and grated cheese and here’s your filling.

Heat the filling on olive oil for several minutes…done! Coat the hats with some olive oil and grill slightly, then fill and serve.

Another great cold appetizer is the so called Caprese salad-so simple and divine. Simply take some tomatoes (here I used cherry tomatoes) and mozzarella, drizzle some olive oil over it, sprinkle with sea salt, some pepper and basil et voila! You can add some parsley and olives too.

For the main dish, I recommend seafood. I generally eat a lot of fish, especially during summer months. One of the traditional Croatian delicacies is octopus or musky octopus under the bell. The bell is a traditional Croatian way of preparing food, you can read more about it in one of my previous articles. Octopus prepared this way has a distinct, deep, beautiful flavor. You can almost taste the sea in it. It is important to freeze the octopus before baking or simply beat it well, so the meat loosens up and doesn’t stay tough.

Drizzle some olive oil over it, sprinkle with some Mediterranean herbs and spices. However, don’t overkill it with spices, especially if you’re dealing with (prefferably) fresh octopus. You want to taste its true flavor, you want to taste the sea in it.

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Add peeled and quartered potatoes plus some onions, place octopus on top and bake under the bell.

In the end, add some white wine. This is what a finished meal looks like:

No feast is finished without a proper dessert. And since we’re in the health zone here in this post, I am recommending a healthy version: goat cheese with some cherry jam and olives, paired with a glass of nice rose wine.

I hope you find this useful and it inspires you to be healthy and creative in the kitchen, at least during these warm summer days.  Bon apetit!

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