Spring gastronomic recommendations
After a long and dreary winter, spring has finally arrived; after heavy, fatty and filling dishes, it's time to taste something lighter, yet just as tasty. In spring the sea has also much to offer. We will introduce you to the other part of seasonal offer - a tiny part of traditional Istrian gastronomic heritage. Easter definitely characterize springtime. Dishes that are served for this holiday are the true representatives of spring.
Prosciutto gira-volta, radicchio primo-taio
The Easter midmorning snack is hard to imagine without prosciutto or pork shoulder. Part of the pork shoulder is boiled, while the remaining part is prepared gira-volta. Slices of new prosciutto are lightly fried in olive oil (or rather heated). At the very end, some white wine is added and left to simmer together. And if prosciutto prepared like this is accompanied by a bowl of new radicchio (primo-taio), then there's nothing to worry about before Easter lunch.
Mišanca is a term denoting wild-growing plants that are picked in spring or early summer. Sometimes mišanca consisted of some twenty or more types of plants. Its basis are different types of wild grown onion, plants, edible flowers and herbs. At the beginning of the season, in early spring, mišanca can be eaten fresh, with olive oil and vinegar dressing. It's also delicious if salted anchovies, olives, caper or hard-boiled eggs are added. Mišanca can be slightly boiled and then served with other vegetables or meat. And finally it is also tasty as a rich vegetable soup (mineštrina od verdure).
Characteristics of Istrian cuisine are the various and rich soups, called maneštra. They are prepared with meat or vegetables, which makes them very nutritious. A real particularity is that they are seasoned with pešt - chopped bacon, garlic and parsley. In istrian taverns there is a wide variety of such Istrian soups: maneštra with young corn, maneštra with fennel, maneštra with chick-peas, meatless, white, young...
In Istria scrambled eggs (fritaja) are usually "refined" by adding various tasty ingredients: from prosciutto, bacon, sausages to different mushrooms and truffles; however in this category the true Istrian brand is fritaja with asparagus. The tops of asparagus or black bryony (Tamus communis) are braised in olive oil until tender and then eggs, salt and pepper are added.
In addition to the already mentioned mineštrina od mišance, in spring other types of maneštra are prepared from freshly picked vegetables. However, fennel maneštra is the most famous spring rich vegetable soup. When it is prepared in a traditional way dried pork tongue gives it an irreplaceable taste.
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