Here is the part where I proudly pay homage to my Croatian heritage.
My dad is from a little island on the Dalmatian coast and the food they eat in those parts is very simple and yet superbly delicious. Mostly the locals eat grilled meats and fish accompanied with bread, salad and a dish they call blitva. Blitva is a vegetable usually made with silver beet or swiss chard and potato, but it can be made with anything from broad beans or zucchini or as I like to use, broccoli.
There are a couple of reasons I use broccoli:
1) The flavour is mild and better for kids…chard and silver beet can taste very strong and earthy.
2) Spinach can be hard to work with because of the fibrous leaves…this one is best left for experienced mamas – as me and VC found out the other night we tried to make it when mum was away.
My mum likes to add whatever she’s got in the crisper to hers, often throwing in a zucchini or green beans into the broccoli.
My kids have always eaten it. It is the only time they EVER eat a green vegetable – needless to say it is regular feature on our weekly menu.
We eat ours with lamb cutlets, or pork cutlets but my favourite thing to have with it is chevapi (or chevapcici). Chevapi is a Croatian concoction which is like a skinless sausage or rissole. It is made with veal and pork mince ( I think) and LOTS and LOTS of garlic. The ones from Coles or Woolies aren’t so good. So if you like those, you will absolutely love the good ones. You can get proper chevapi from Beta Meats in Newtown, or any of the Ivan’s Butcheries across Sydney (as seen on the bbq below).
Broccoli & Potato Recipe
1 head of broccoli
salt & pepper
Put the potato into water and boil.
If you cut the potato small, then boil up the broccoli at the same time. They will be ready at the same time.
If you have larger pieces of potato, then just throw the broccoli in at the end.
Drain – but leave a little water in or it will be too dry.
Cut together with a knife.
Season and drizzle with olive oil.
Notes on the recipe
Now here’s the thing when you’re draining it – don’t drain it dry. Leave a little water in. Just enough to give it some moisture, because if you completely drain it, you will need bucket-loads of oil to make it nice.
Once drained, get a knife (just a regular knife from your cutlery set) and cut the potato and broccoli up. The point is to combine it but not mash it. The pic here is actually over mixed – looks more like broccoli mash than blitva. I don’t sweat it though, it still tastes good.
How much oil you add is up to you. If you’re watching what you eat, don’t use too much. If not, then go for your life, the more the better.
Here is the chevapi on the BBQ.
This is what blitva looks like when my mum makes it. I finally figured out how to do it. It’s all about leaving plenty of water in to mix in at the end. I also like to put some diced spanish onion in too. Add a little extra flavour and tastes soooo good. I have broccoli, green beans, zucchini and English spinach in this photo.