Food we cook on sia
Sometimes it is harder to prepare a great dish with products you are not that familiar with. It doesn’t have to be complicated; most of the time simple and fresh ingredients uplift a great dish. But before you start I advise you to have a look at the local markets, butcher and grocery stores. It is better to know what is available than being disappointed when ingredients of your recipe are not to be found on the island. I myself made that mistake once too much.
All supermarkets on the island have their basic products. Pasta’s, rice, dairy, meats, fruits, vegetables, but do not expect exclusive brands or a large variety to choose from. For example, at the supermarket you will not find fresh herbs or any herb in a jar other than the most common. Parsley and sometimes fresh basil can be found on the market in the harbour. If you walk from Luka to Kut you can find rosemary (across from the police station) on the side of the road. In our courtyard we also (try to) grow mint, sage, rosemary and basil.
But as told before a great dish can be very simple. Zucchini salad, grilled vegetables inlaid in garlic and olive oil from the island, pasta with figs and Dalmatian ham, a simple tomato salad with onions.
On the courtyard connecting The Green House you will find a traditional Peka oven. You can compare it a bit with the Arabic tagine. Dishes are prepared under a steel bell with hot charcoals on top. It’s a traditional way to stew meat, vegetables or fish. But instead of making a Peka dish you can also use the oven to grill vegetables, meats fish or even bake your own bread. And with a little patience you can make great pizzas.
Zucchini Salad for 6
Ingredients: 3 zucchini’s – 1 or 2 onions – olive oil – lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar – pepper & salt – pine nuts – cheese from Pag* (local market in the harbour)
*More towards the North you will find the Island of Pag. The island is famous for it’s cheese. Throughout the year sheep graze the salty grass on the island that gives an distinctive flavoured cheese. Most common is the old cheese from Pag.
Chop the onion in small pieces and grate the cheese. Bake the pine nuts golden brown. I prefer without oil as they pour oil when heated. Wash the zucchini’s and slide long strips either with a good knife or cheese slicer. Dress approx. 4 slices on a plate and divide the onion on top of the zucchini. Sprinkle with olive oil, lemon juice and/or balsamic vinegar, pepper and salt. Add the roasted pine nuts and just before serving the grated cheese. Serve with a piece of bread to dip the sauce. If you find the flavours of this recipe too simple, add some fresh young goat cheese, which you can buy at the local market stand in the harbor.
Note: Use olive oil that is locally made, it is definitely better than the regular olive oil from the supermarket. The small market places on the streets sell them per liter.
Mario’s pasta with Figs for 6
Ingredients: pack of spaghetti’s (more if you want) – circa 1 kg domestic small figs (yellow skin) – 3 to 4 shallots onions – circa 300 gram Dalmatian Ham (sold on the local market in the harbor) – Olive oil – salt & pepper – grated cheese from Pag
Our good friend and skipper Mario once created this recipe on our boat trip around the island. No idea what to cook for lunch that day on the boat. But with the great figs and Dalmatian ham bought that morning and some products on-board Mario made this great dish which is still one of our most favourite spaghetti’s ever!
Start with peeling the figs. Cut them in pieces as big as mandarin parts. Cut the shallots in small dices or half rings and glaze them slowly in olive oil in a large frying pan. While glazing you can cut the Dalmatian ham in thin strips. When the shallots are glazed you can add the ham. Give a good stir to mix the flavours. Let is shimmer for about 5-10 minutes. Add the figs and stir again. As the heat is on the sauce gets a little sticky. The sugars in the figs start to caramelize. Make sure that the sauce is not overcooked; you should still see pieces of fig. Add salt and pepper for the right flavour. While finalizing the sauce you can cook the spaghetti’s al dente in salted water. Rinse the spaghetti and serve them on a plate with the fig sauce on top, grate Parmesan or Cheese from Pag on top!
Simple Tomato Salad
Ingredients: tomatoes (as many as you like) – red onions – olive oil – vinegar and/or lemon juice – small piece of garlic – pepper & salt
A good salad starts with good ingredients. Try to find tomatoes from the island. They have a great and intensive flavour as the they grow under the Mediterranean sun. Use good extra virgin olive oil from the island and red onions to enhance the quality of this simple salad. The taste of the salad also benefits if you take of the skin of the tomatoes and cut the onion thin.
Peel the skin of the tomatoes (or not) and cut them in 1 cm rings or 2 cm parts. Put the tomatoes together with the sliced onions in a salad bowl. Be generous with the olive oil and vinegar as this is the perfect salad to dip with bread. Squash the garlic clove and stir it through the salad. To finish add pepper and salt.
As you might have noticed I did not mention any quantities as it is all up to you. Some love onion and prefer to leave out the garlic. Or add thin slices of raw zucchini. You can’t go wrong with this simple salad!
Ingredients: Any vegetable such as bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant or carrot – olive oil – lots of garlic – parsley
Pre heat the oven to 400/425 F or 200/220 C. Clean the vegetables and cut them into parts, slices or long strips. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. If you like you can add some rosemary to the mixture. Take out the grill grid and cover with baking paper before you put the vegetables into the oven. As every oven works different, check now and then if the vegetable turn golden brown, best is to turn them half way. If needed you can turn the oven slightly higher or use the grill at the end to make the vegetables crispy. Stay put as the grill can easily burn your veggies. Take the grid out and cool down the vegetables. While cooling you can make the salsa for the inlay. Use a fair amount of olive oil and mix it with plenty of small-diced garlic and lots of thinly cut parsley, add some fresh pepper. Put a first layer of veggies on the bottom of a container, spoon some salsa over and repeat till all veggies are used. Prepare the dish a day in advance, to retract all flavors. Again serve with bread as appetizer or finger food at the end of the day while enjoying a glass of Mali Plavac or Bugava.
Make sure to grill enough vegetables, I would recommend at least 2 zucchini’s, 3 bell peppers, 1 eggplant and 2 carrots. As the oil preserves the vegetables you can easily keep it in the refrigerator up to 5 days.
! Tip! If you wake up early, take the bike to the harbor were the ferry comes to shore. Fishermen sell their freshly caught fish from the boat, or fish market next to the market stalls. If you want to sleep out you can visit the Fish shop in the small alley at the beginning of Luka harbour. With some oil, lemon and herbs its great on the grill.