Today I will not write about Paris. We will forget all about that beautiful and sometimes tiring city and move to another tiny part of the world, to a place that is more home to me than my own home town. We will move to a small island, in an even smaller village on the Adriatic coast.
There are no pompous nightclubs, five star hotels or big yachts – even though you can see one every now and then, returning from an afternoon spent in one of the hidden bays of the island. There is the sea and the sandy beach where I’ve spent both my childhood mornings and afternoons. There is a riva with a small but charming bar where you can sip a drink under the palm leaves. There is a small house and friends you see every day and rosemary and laurel trees in the garden. I’ve been coming here since forever and from here I carry the most vivid and dearest memories.
Delicacies I remember most from my childhood summer days were mussels and date-shells which were brought to us fresh and prepared immediately by my grandmother as a small treat before lunch or dinner. Date-shells are nowadays forbidden to be collected from the sea, but mussels are still largely consumed, farmed in the bays of Mali Ston and Sibenik farther down south. However, small fishermen still collect them from the sea localy, mostly for personal use.
This summer again, my mother surprised me by buying fresh mussels one morning so we prepared them for early lunch, traditionally, na buzaru, with white wine, parsley and a handful of breadcrumbs.
When you find yourself on the Croatian coast one day, instead of a lunch in a restaurant, buy some fresh mussels and try preparing them yourself. You won’t be sorry that you did.
Croatian mussels in white wine
1 kg fresh mussels
2 spoons of olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
handful of bread crumbs
1 glass of white wine
chopped fresh parsley
bread for dipping
Clean the mussel shells with the knife, rubbing the beard and the limpets from the shells.
Wash the shells in water. Put them in a large pot on medium heat until they are slightly open i order to release the seawater. Discard half the water. You can proceed to cook the mussels directly without this step but your sauce might end up being too salty.
In another pot, heat the olive oil and chopped garlic, add the mussels (including half the water you kept if you did the previous step) and stir for a few minutes. Add a handful of bread crumbs, glass of white wine and chopped parsley. Cook until the mussels are completely opened.
Serve in a deep plate with plenty of white bread to dip in the sauce.