November 6, 2008

Croatia: A Safe Haven for Celiacs!

I just got back from a nice 4 day vacation in Croatia with my boyfriend, who had a couple days off from his rigorous hockey schedule. We stayed in a little town called Rovinj, which was built to resemble the city of Venice and let me tell you it does! It was amazing, complete with tiny little streets zig zagging all over the old city. At first I was very nervous that I would get glutenated while on this vacation, as I wasn't sure they would understand me with the language barrier. But I was completely wrong! Celiacs pack your bags for Croatia!! I spent the 4 days eating homemade risottos, fresh Istrian(Croatian) ham, delicious cheeses, and seafood to die for! I never went hungry and in fact left every meal absolutely stuffed. I had no problem explaining my Celiac situation. I printed off a card from the Croatian Celiac website that explained would I could and could not eat in Croatian. I simply just handed every waiter the card and they would promptly take it back to the chef to make sure the food I chose was safe, if it wasn't safe they changed it so that my choice was gluten free. The last day I actually forgot my card once and explained in English what I could and could not have. It was no problem at all because we found that everywhere we went in the Istria area of Croatia, they all spoke English. Now that brings me to my next recipe revolved around fish.

I actually tried this dish here in Italia with some minor adjustments to the original dish. Normally I use salmon, preferably silver, but as I have discussed before you have to get creative with your ingredients in this country! So I ambled down to the fish market one morning last week and looked at the array of freshly caught fish placed before me. I found a pink looking fillet that resembled that of a small salmon. I of course forgot to look up the word for salmon in Italian before going to the market, so pointed and asked salmon??? to the owner and he replied to me in incredibly fast Italian something I couldn't make out. So I just said Si! Due per favore!! Well upon inspecting my purchase once I arrived home, I realized I had purchased two lovely looking trout's. Now I am by no means an expert in trout, salmon maybe, but definitely not trout. So I figured the fish were some kind of rainbow trout, but would work just fine. I went a little easier on the sauce and the whole dish turned out great!

Asian infused Salmon

~2 8-10 oz salmon or trout fillets if you can't find a very fresh salmon fillet
~4 tablespoons olive oil
~6 tablespoons rice vinegar
~3-4 tablespoons GF soy sauce, less is better as some GF soy sauces are very salty, if possible used reduce sodium, then use 4 tablespoons.
~Juice from 1 orange or 2-3 tablespoons orange juice(not concentrate)
~grated fresh ginger, about 1-2 teaspoons depending on your taste preference, ground ginger can also be used as a substitute
~GF Asian/Thai spicy Chili Sauce or red pepper flakes, 1-2 teaspoons depending on how spicy you want this dish to be!

Combine all ingredients in a marinating dish. Add fish, the skin can be left on or removed, and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes allowing fish to marinate. Once marinated, heat skillet to medium heat adding 1-2 tablespoons olive oil. Once oil becomes heated, drop fillets into the skillet skin side down if it was not removed. Cook for 4 minutes and then flip to other side, if skin was on gently take a spatula and remove skin from fillet. It should be easily pulled off. Cook for another 4 minutes on this side. Depending on how you like your fish cooked, I prefer medium, you can cook a little longer or remove after the 8 minutes. Sometimes the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet. Then remove cooked fillets to plate and cover with foil. Add the marinade to hot skillet and cook at a very high heat allowing it to boil. Once it boils stir constantly until sauce reduces and becomes thick. Once it becomes thickened remove the skillet from heat. Plate fish and pour sauce over. I like to serve this dish with basmati rice and sautéed bak choy. However, you can use whatever vegetable you like. I have also used asparagus and broccoli. I like to sauté the veggies in a skillet with a little garlic, salt, pepper, and sesame oil. Also, depending on how much you like a good sauce, you may want to make more marinade, which will result in more sauce. Depending on the size of the fillets, I often times will make more of the marinade so that I have a good amount of sauce to drizzle over my rice, fish, and veggies. It is up to you! Make every recipe cater to your preferences!


Anonymous said...

Mmm...that fish sounds wonderful. I can picture myself sitting at a small seaside cafe in Rovinj asking for trout that looks like salmon and please make the sauce gluten free! OR I can just come to Pontebba and have you make it for me. Of course I have to come with you to the fish market so I can practice my very basic Italian. He would say in very rapid Italian, "How do you like my fish?" And I would say "Bene!"
Keep up the good postings, as Auntie Linda says, "You have a book in there!"

Alaskan Goddess Mom said...

Hi Alaskan Goddess, I'm just learning how to use this comment section, as you probably realized, that last anonymous comment was from me! I just got done soring all my GF flours and putting them in containers with tight lids so they wouldn't be continually dusting in the cupboard. I know exactly what you mean when you say you were covered in GF flours while you were baking; that tapioca flour is so fine that it blows around just by breathing on it! Ciao...Buona sera!