Istrian cuisine is described as being simultaneously complex and harmonious, full of flavors, spices, and unusual combinations. This is a culinary destination where you can savor fish, shrimp, and crabs caught in the aquamarine sea, as well as the renowned truffle, handcrafted golden olive oil, and some of the best Croatian wines.
Since autumn is knocking on our doors, today we’ll talk about a typical Istrian dish called manesthra (maneštra).
The region’s culinary customs have a significant influence on the most popular Istrian spoon meal, or “maneštra.” Maneštra is a unique and nutritious dish that appears to be plain and easy. Maneštra is only now receiving the recognition it merits due to veggies’ high nutritional value, and because the straightforward meal has made its way into many restaurant menus.
Boiling potatoes and beans serve as the foundation of Istrian maneštra. Seasonal vegetables are then added to create variations known by names such as maneštra od bobići (young corn), maneštra od jačmika (barley), maneštra od slanca (chickpea), etc.
When sauerkraut or sour turnips are added, it transforms into the traditional winter dish known as “jota.”
Pešt or pesto is a distinctive feature of Istrian maneštra too. Bacon, garlic, and parsley are minced and combined into a paste to make pešt. The type of dry meat that was added (exclusively pork) was another factor that helped to clearly characterize Istrian maneštra. The prosciutto bone was by far the most popular and well-liked addition.
So, next time on your visit to Istria, make sure to try this warm delicacy.
Photo credit: www.196flavors.com, www.hadoka.hr