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Brudet – Croatia National Dish (Dalmatia) – Day 80/Dish 45

April 5, 2010

Hello Foodies!  It is the Monday after the festivity of Easter Sunday and we are setting off again in search of culinary contentment.  Our destination today is the Dalmatian Coast and the beautiful European country of Croatia.  To get there from Cote D’Ivoire, we sail north around the Slave Coast and into the Mediterranean Sea to the mouth of the Adriatic on whose eastern shores lies our goal.   

When we visited Bosnia-Herzegovina earlier in our adventure we began to get some feel for the history of this region.  The ancient history of the area predates written records and the cultures and empires that rolled through this place each left a lasting impression on the psyche and architecture.

Croatia as we know it began its modern history with settlement by the Croats sometime in the 7th century.  They then divided the kingdom into two separate dukedoms, the dukedom of Pannonia and the dukedom of Littoral Croatia.  This period marked the Christianization of the nation and its people.  The duchies were united in 925 by Duke Tomislav who helped make Croatia on of the most powerful kingdoms in the region in Medieval times. 

During the 1500’s, Croatia was the battleground for the Ottoman Wars between Austria and forces under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent.  In one particular two month campaign, the infamous Battle of Szigetvár, Nikola Šubić Zrinski and his troops held back more than 100,000 Ottoman troops while fighting to the last man. 

 After its founding Croatia went on to be a part of several multiethnic empires while retaining its autonomy.  These included the Kingdom of Hungary, the Hapzburg Dynasty, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and eventually during World War 2 the Croats aligned with the Nazi party, including working directly with the Nazi death squads eliminating Jews within the region. 

After the end of the war, Croatia became a member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  The next 40 years were spent “behind the Iron Curtain”.  Croatia emerged at the beginning of the 1990’s and regained total autonomy. 

The 1990’s brought turmoil to the region with Bosnia-Herzegovina being the center of ethnic tensions and eventually ethnic cleansing.  Stability has finally returned to the area and although tensions remain high between ethnic groups in Bosnia, Croatia has become a regional leader in economic growth and tourism.  If you look to its beautiful beaches and gorgeous scenery it is not hard to imagine.  It is also not hard to imagine why it was at the center of such divergent forces for so long.

The national dish of Croatia hails from the region of Dalmatia along the coast.  It is a hearty thick stew made with a variety of Fish and Shellfish.  An authentic Brudet calls for very specific species of fish from the Adriatic.  Since I was unable to get these fish locally, I am making some substitutions.  The key is to have variety in the proteins since the base of the stew is very simple.  I chose sustainably caught Chilean Seabass and Mahi Mahi as well as delicious NC wild caught shrimp.  In Croatia you might use octopus, shrimp, squid, Grouper, Tuna and one suggested feature fish called Scorpion Fish. 

I give this dish a 2 for difficulty. It is not particularly hard to cook and the result was very tasty!  You could easily improvise with a recipe like this.  Have fun and be creative!

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Rating:

Appearance: 3 out of 5

Aroma:  4 out of 5

Flavor: 4 out of 5

Total: 11 out of 15

Ingredients

1 kg. mixed fish

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 large cloves garlic, minced

1 cup tomato purée mixed with 1/2 cup water

2 tbsp wine vinegar

1 tbsp Vegeta (2 packets of Goya Salad Seasoning to substitute)

2 tbsp chopped parsley

Salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

 • Cut fish into equal size chunks and   flour lightly.

• Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat and quickly fry the fish on all sides.

• Remove the fish and reduce the heat to medium.

• Add the onion and fry until soft.

• Add the tomato mixture and the garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.

• Add the vinegar mixture, the fish, Vegeta and parsley and cook over medium heat without stirring until the fish is done (about 10-15 minutes).

 

http://www.croatia-nudistsbeaches-scubadiving.com/brudet.html NSFW!!!!!   Yes I realize the link takes you to a nudist beaches website.  Don’t worry there is nothing compromising on that page.  Fortunately this was entirely accidental, as you will not catch my lily-whiteness in the buff on any beach even if it is in beautiful Croatia, unless I am very drunk…which is possible I suppose.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 5, 2010 9:06 pm

    My father-in-law’s family is from Croatia and the dish that he most identifies with is sarma, or cabbage rolls, so it’s the one that I’ve come to connect with Croatian cuisine. This is entirely new to me and something that I’d love to prepare for the family!

  2. April 5, 2010 9:52 pm

    Hi!!

    So cool to hear that this dish has a personal connection for you. Here is the link to Bulgaria and Lozova Surma. We made them with grape leaves, but you can easily sub cabbage leaves…http://myhungrytum.com/2010/02/20/lozova-surma-bulgaria-national-dish-day-44dish-24/ BTW that was the day I sliced off my fingertip which is almost entirely healed! 🙂

    I love the food and culture of this region. So much history. So much conflict and intrigue. It is all darkly romantic.

    One tip on Brudet. Make sure to seperate and carefully dust the fish with the flour before frying in batches (step 1) If you clump it all together in a bowl to flour like I did, they won’t hold together in the stew as well. Other than that hint, I think your family will love this dish.

    Cheers…And good appetite
    Eric

  3. Tena permalink
    September 16, 2011 2:29 pm

    Hello 🙂
    I’m from Croatia (far from Dalmatia actually) but I love brudet :).
    Sarma is of course my favourite, it’s quite popular here in Slavonia.

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