In the past, the life on the island was completely different. People were modest and caring, practical and wise, they had to learn to survive in difficult living conditions. They did not live in abundance and rationally spent what they had. In the days when there were no refrigerators, they ate seasonal vegetables, salted fish and dried meat. They used olive oil and sea salt, and everywhere they turned they would be immersed in the aromas of laurel and rosemary. Fish was eaten very often, and meat was served on Sundays and holidays. For special occasions women made pasta, especially šurlice or makaruni, with wild game or lamb stew (zvacet). They also ate sheep’s cheese and prosciutto, as well as seafood. Sweet treats were simple: laži during Carnival, friti for Christmas Eve and Good Friday, orihnjača for Christmas, pogača for Easter and presnec for the Feast of St John the Baptist, Ivanja. Figs were dried in the sun and eaten as the only year-round dessert.
Today, authentic and some new and original dishes are prepared from traditional ingredients and served in the local restaurants and taverns. You should definitely try the island lamb, šurlice and goulash, quality white and blue fish, molluscs and other seafood, as well as cheese and curd cheese pastries.
Ingredients for šurlice: 1 kg plain flour, 500 ml hot water, 2 eggs (1 whole and 1 yolk), 1 tablespoon of olive oil or fat, pinch of salt
Method:Mix the flour and salt and whisk the eggs, water and olive oil into the dry ingredients. Knead the dough until you get a smooth, hard ball of dough and let it rest wrapped with plastic or cloth for 1-2 hours. Divide the dough into smaller portions and fashion them into rolls. Cut them into pieces of approximately 1 dkg. Using your hands roll the pieces of dough around a skewer or a knitting needle into pasta (šurlice) of 8-10 centimetres with a hole in the centre. Remove the šurlice from the skewer/needle, which will leave a hole in the centre, and stack them onto a flour-dusted surface. Leave the pasta to dry and, when ready, cook them in a large amount of boiling salted water until it softens.
Ingredients for lamb stew (zvacet): 2 kg of lamb, 0.45 kg of onions, 0.15 kg of fresh tomatoes, 0.18 kg oil, 4 cloves of garlic, 0.2 dcl of wine, salt, pepper, parsley and a little bit of bay leaf, if desired.
Method: Fry the onions and add the chopped lamb with minced garlic, diced tomatoes, chopped parsley and spices. Add water as needed and add the flour and wine near the end of cooking to determine the quantity of the stew.
Serve: Strain the cooked šurlice, rinse and put into a bowl. Pour a little stew over the pasta so it does not stick. Serve hot with a compulsory sprinkle of grated Parmesan or hard sheep’s cheese.
Pastry ingredients: 0.25 kg of flour, 0.05 kg of sugar, 0.05 kg of fat or butter, 1 egg, pinch of salt
Method :Mix the dough from flour, sugar, fat, eggs and a pinch of salt. Let it rest for a while. Roll the dough into the shape of a larger plate or two smaller ones, and about 30% wider. This dough will be used as a “shell” in which the mixture of cheese is wrapped.
Mixture ingredients: 1 kg of fresh sheep’s cheese, 0.25 kg of sugar, 0.10 kg of flour, 6 yolks, lemon zest and vanilla sugar as needed
Method: Cut up the fresh sheep’s cheese into small pieces, mix the sugar, vanilla sugar and egg yolks, add lemon and flour, gently mix and spread it onto the prepared dough. Even the filling out and leave 2 cm of a rim. Lift the pastry rim over the edge of the filling and pinch the dough every 5 cm to tighten it around the filling. The centre of the filling must stay uncovered. Bake the presnec in an oven at a medium temperature until nicely browned.
Serve: Sprinkle the presnec with icing sugar and serve cold.
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