My dad is from a little island on the Dalmatian coast and the food they eat in those parts is very simple and yet superbly delicious. Mostly the locals eat grilled meats and fish accompanied with bread, salad and a dish they call blitva. Blitva is a vegetable usually made with silver beet or swiss chard and potato, but it can be made with anything from broad beans or zucchini or as I like to use, broccoli and sometimes green beans.
There are a couple of reasons I use broccoli for my blitva. The flavour is mild and better for kids…chard and silver beet can taste very strong and earthy and spinach can be hard to work with because of the fibrous leaves. My mum likes to add whatever greens she’s got in the crisper to hers, often throwing in a zucchini or green beans into the broccoli. The key to good blitva is not to drain too much of the water out, and not to over cook the potato. It might take you a few tries to get it perfect but even when it’s not perfect it’s still pretty good. We eat ours with lamb or pork cutlets or oven-baked salmon fillets but my favourite thing to have with it is chevapi (or chevapcici). Chevapi is a Croatian concoction which is like a skinless sausage or rissole made with veal and pork mince and loads of garlic and extremely difficult to get in England as there are not a huge population of Croats here.
1 head of broccoli (or swiss chard, beans of any kind)
1 or 2 potatoes peeled and chopped into pieces.
salt & pepper
Put the potato into water and boil.
If you cut the potato small, then boil up the broccoli at the same time. They will be ready at the same time.
If you have larger pieces of potato, then just throw the broccoli in at the end.
Drain – but leave a little water in or it will be too dry.
Cut it all together with a knife inside the pot.
Season generously with salt and plenty of olive oil.