THE spectacular Dalmatian coastline of Croatia is one of Europe's best-kept secrets. Defined by the sea, rambling vineyards and olive groves, it is home to some of the country's most treasured dishes.
In his first book, Dalmatia, Melbourne-based, Croatian-born restaurateur Ino Kuvačić captures the charm of his beloved native home, and celebrates the food traditions and hospitality of this magical place.
With chapters covering vegetables and salads, meat dishes, fish and seafood, and sweets, Dalmatia includes more than 100 authentic recipes such as pasticada (slow-cooked beef cheeks), Brujet (Dalmatian fish stew) and Torta Malcarana (almond cake from Makarska).
This attractive cookbook is brimming with stunning photography of the Dalmatian region and reveals its culinary traditions and experiences in detail.
4 spatchcock (each approximately 500g)
50g butter, melted
1 red capsicum, thickly sliced
5 shallots, halved
8 waxy potatoes, such as desiree, sebago or nicola, halved
100g lard, melted and kept hot
1 brown onion, finely chopped
50ml extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 slices of bread
200g minced veal (from the shoulder or neck)
100g chicken livers
50g smoked bacon
1 egg, beaten
1 rosemary sprig, chopped
To make the stuffing, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and sauté the onion until golden brown. When it's almost done, add the garlic and sauté for another couple of minutes. Leave the onion and garlic to cool.
Soak the bread in the milk then squeeze most of the milk out of the bread and set aside.
In a mincer, mince the veal, chicken livers, smoked bacon and softened bread. If you don't have a mincer you could chop it all finely with a knife.
Put the minced meat in a bowl, add the cooled onion and garlic mixture, the egg and rosemary. Season well with salt and pepper.
For this dish you can debone the spatchcock or just fill the cavity without deboning. If you are deboning the spatchcock, cut the spines out using kitchen scissors.
With a boning knife, remove all the bones except the bones in the legs and wings.
Brush the inside of the spatchcock with the butter and season well. Stuff the spatchcock with the filling and close with a skewer.
If you are not deboning the spatchcock, just place the stuffing inside and close the bird with a skewer or toothpick.
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Put the spatchcock in a greased roasting tin. Arrange the vegetables around the birds. Pour the hot lard over the spatchcock and vegetables and bake for 30 minutes, basting with the pan juices from the bottom of the tin every 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
This is an edited extract from Dalmatia by Ino Kuvačić, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $50, and is available in stores nationally.
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