Mussels (Dagnje in Croatian) na buzaru is my all time favourite Croatian seafood dish. So I figured it was probably the best place to start for the first post! While some may see mussels as a winter food, in Croatia you’ll find mussels all summer long at most coastal restaurants.
The main ingredients in a buzara are olive oil, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs and white wine. With these five key ingredients you have a ‘white’ buzura and the addition of tomato passata or paste or fresh tomatoes will give you a ‘red’ buzara. Once you have the base down pat, you can use either of them for any type of seafood including scampi or crab.
The most important ingredient for a good buzara is fresh seafood, so I went down to the Sydney Fish Market to find myself the best Australian mussels money could buy, and sure enough it didn’t take long.
I stopped along the way for some Scallops Mornay and got in serious trouble for taking a seat at a bench that didn’t belong to the restaurant I bought the scallops from. I left (still eating), as a group of Asian women took up my cause and started yelling at the floor runner to let me stay. I thanked them and told them not to worry, I had a recipe to cook!
- Two kilograms of mussels
- 100mls olive oil
- 6-8 cloves of crushed garlic (depending on personal preference)
- 1 bunch of Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 3 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs
- 300mls tomato passata / you can add in a tablespoon of tomato paste for more flavour as well
- 200mls white wine (any wine you would actually drink)
- sprinkle of ground pepper
- With a hard-bristle brush scrub the mussels with cold running water and remove any beards
- Heat olive oil in a wide saucepan for 30 seconds and add the garlic. Don’t let the garlic brown.
- Add the washed/cleaned mussels. Never stir mussels just shake the pan around a few times. Cook for a minute and add the parsley.
- Add a sprinkle of pepper (ok here paths differ – some people say add salt, others say mussels are salty enough so no need for salt – up to you, I added no salt and they tasted wonderful.)
- Add the tomato passata and breadcrumbs and shake the pan a few times to coat the mussels in the sauce.
- Add the white wine (I’ve been told the wine should be a room temperature and never cold)
- Put the lid on and let it all cook for about 10 minutes or until all the mussels have opened. Do not force open mussels that haven’t opened. If they haven’t opened – I’ve been told – they were dead before cooking and hence can’t be consumed.
- Serve in the saucepan or stand them up in a bowl and pour sauce over the top / Serve with crusty bread
How it went down: So my first try at Mussels Buzara was a success and I know I will cooking this forever! a) It doesn’t need many ingredients and b) it is super easy to prepare and c) it just tastes great…it’s the taste of summer.
I highly recommend this beauty. And please let me know how it went down for you? Did the recipe work? Did it fail? Do you have any hints to make it ever better?
Zivjeli! (Cheers and let’s live!)