Blitva

This is a classic vegetable dish found all over the Croatian coastline, and will be listed on pretty much every menu. It’s basically spinach and potatoes, but not the English or baby spinach we’re used to, it’s more like chard or silverbeet. It’s usually cooked with potatoes but not always, and is served as a side dish. Or with fries if you’re vegetarian like me. 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch silverbeet
  • 3 – 4 medium potatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • juice of one lemon
  • good extra virgin olive oil (approx 1/2 cup

1. Begin by preparing the spinach. Cut off all the stems, trim away any dark parts, and chop them into bite size pieces, or approximately 5 cm. Make sure you cut away as much stalk from the leaves as you can. Wash well.

2. Wash the leaves, and shred them with a sharp knife, but not too finely, about 1 – 2 cm. Then peel and dice the potatoes, not too small, about 3 – 4 cm. Put a large pot of water on to boil, filled half way.

3. When the water comes to the boil salt it well, then put in the potatoes and spinach stems. Put the lid on and let them boil for about fifteen minutes. The potatoes (and stems) in this dish need to be quite soft so don’t worry about overcooking them.

4. Next put the chopped leaves in and put the lid back on.  Just pop them on top of the potatoes and stems, you don’t need to mix them through, they will steam and wilt on top. Cook for another five minutes, or until the leaves are soft and cooked through.

5. Strain off as much of the cooking water as you can. Dress the spinach with the salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and enough olive oil to coat it well.  Then mix it all really well with a wooden spoon, you actually want to mash the potatoes somewhat. This is traditionally served with grilled or barbecued fish.

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