The cuisine of Croatia can be quite diverse from the meat-rich inland, dishes laced with truffle in Istria and the seafood-heavy coastline. My parents lived far from the coast when they grew up in that part of the world, chowing on food prepared in a very simple fashion.
Meats like duck, pig and pheasant were generally hunted and fish was caught from the freshwater rivers, all of which were stewed, grilled or spitted. A bit of cabbage and potato salad, some bread and the meal was complete. Simple and tasty.
I remember on my trip to Croatia back in 2002 how the food style changed as we got closer to the coast with the presence of many types of seafood on menus, even pasta and pizza thanks to Italy’s close proximity.
Hot sunshine, the deep blue waters of the Adriatic, cold bottle of local vino and freshly cooked seafood. Can’t get better than that. A dish that can be seen on menus all along the gorgeous coastline is this – crni rižoto – a flavoursome risotto blackened using the fresh ink from squid or cuttlefish.
Cleaning these little critters can get a little messy and when you’re dealing with ink it’s best you wear gloves incase one of the ink sacks burst. It really does stain! Alternatively you can buy pre-cleaned squid and cuttlefish and grab a sachet, or two, of ink, although it’s just not the same as when you know you’ve done it all yourself, right down to squeezing the ink paste out of the silvery little sack.
I’m really not sure where I got this recipe from as it has been in my folder for many years. The final flourish of pan-fried garlic tentacles is my own touch as is the addition of black Hawaiian salt, something I picked up in New York.