Zagreb

That’s offal!

more than a year ago

There is something about offal that inspires the “eeeew” factor in everyone from small children to the most ardent gastronome. But if you are going to eat meat, you might at least make good use of all the parts of the animal. Offal dishes offer some of the most authentic tastes of any nation, offering a window into a past when people had to find creative ways to make the seemingly inedible palatable. However,in many cultures offal is considered the greatest of delicacies.
Croatian cuisine certainly offers a wealth of dishes made from unexpected bits and bobs. I remember having a business lunch in an inland Dalmatian restaurant famed for its roast lamb. The meal arrived, and one of the party, who had been annoying the whole group with outrageous prima donna-like behaviour, started waving something white and oval around on his fork and asking “Is this a testicle?” Being the only Croatian speaker, I said “Noooo!”, believing this to be just another flight of fancy from the hairy diva. I was even told by the waiter that it was a “white kidney” (bijeli bubreg), thus intensifying my reassurances. I couldn’t help being somewhat gratified when I later found out that it was indeed a testicle. Talk about a euphemism!
Here is a selection of the delicacies you might find at table if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in a truly authentic Croatian restaurant. Do not be put off – you may well find these things delicious!
Jetrica – Liver, bane of the lives of all schoolchildren. But don’t write it off. Cooked Central European style in a rich sauce, liver is a delicious and nutritious morsel. Look out especially for lamb, veal and chicken livers which are much more tender than you’d expect.

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