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7 authentic meals to prepare while sailing the Adriatic

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7 authentic meals to prepare while sailing the Adriatic

When sailing, you will experience certain special moments that you would take for granted if you were on solid ground. Sleeping and eating are basic everyday tasks that have a unique charm when you're on a boat. The slow and monotonous rocking of the boat at night can present problems for some but is also an excellent way to lull yourself to sleep. The same thing applies to food, as meals shared and prepared on board are that much tastier and fulfilling. Additionally, the struggle of preparing a full meal in limited surroundings of onboard kitchens will push your cooking capabilities to their limits.

However, with a little bit of preparation and planning, you will be able to experience a delicious culinary experience in the most beautiful of settings.

Here you can discover some traditional and easy Croatian meals that can be prepared in any kitchen, offering authentic Mediterranean flavours and plenty of fresh seafood.

Before you start cooking 

If you are new to cooking aboard, there are some things you should know and prepare before setting sail.

  • Limited space - onboard kitchens, excluding those on mega yachts and bigger sailboats, are generally small with downsized appliances and limited storage capacity. It is vital to check just how much space and storage you will be working with before stocking up.  
  • Stock up - when calculating the number of provisions needed, take into account the number of people sailing with you, the amount of food they can eat daily, and add a bit extra. It is known that people tend to get quite hungry when sailing.
  • Be creative and resourceful - once you set sail, there won't be a chance for you to hop to the store if you are missing something for the meal. So, in addition to carefully stocking up, you should be prepared to improvise and adapt; whether it's regarding provisions, pans, tools or recipes. Don't stress too much about what's missing but focus on what you have that could replace it.

1. Sea Stone Soup


  • hollow sea stone (preferably filled with either shells or small crabs)
  • red onion
  • 2 carrots
  • parsley
  • potatoes
  • olive oil
  • pepper

This intriguing soup is the favourite dish of Croatian sailors, and a must-try when sailing the Adriatic. The critical ingredient is the sea stone covered with either little shells or small crabs, that can be found in depths over 10 meters. 

Put the stone in a pot, cover it with cold water (about one litre) and add one chopped red onion, two carrots, some parsley, two smaller potatoes, olive oil and season it. Leave it to simmer until the potatoes and the carrots are boiled, after which you remove the stone, add rice and leave it on the stove until the rice is done.

And there you have it - a delicious and quick meal that is undeniably authentic.

2. Black Risotto


  • Cuttlefish (750g)
  • risotto rice
  • fish broth
  • olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 30g butter
  • wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Although a bit more complicated and time-consuming, black risotto is one of the must-try dishes while in Croatia and can be cooked on board without any problems. 

Start by heating the olive oil in a saucepan and sautéing finely chopped onion and garlic. Slice the cuttlefish (saving the tentacles) into small pieces and add into the pan before cooking it on medium heat until lightly golden. At that point, add the rice and coat with the oil frying for a minute. Once coated, over a low heat start adding broth a little bit at a time, enough to cover the rice. As the broth gets soaked up by the rice, add more broth. Repeat until you get a sticky rice mixture.

Mix the ink with the vinegar and butter before adding it to the pan. Finally, season with salt and pepper to your liking.

In a separate pan, cook the tentacles with a tablespoon of olive oil for a couple of minutes and serve with the risotto. Serve it with chopped parsley or Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

3. Brudet


  • 1 kg of various fish (cod-fish, sea-bass and similar, or crabs, shrimps etc.)
  • olive oil
  • 3 large onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5g raisins
  • 1teaspoon vinegar
  • tomatoes 
  • minced parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • sugar (to taste)

Start by putting olive oil in a large pot and sautéing the onion until it is soft.

Then put your fish in (cut it into smaller pieces) and fry it for a few minutes. Add vinegar and cook gently for two more minutes. After that, add garlic and bay leaf and absolutely do not stir it with a ladle, but simply shake the whole pot insted to ensure the flavours mix naturally. Next add tomato, salt, pepper, raisins and enough water to cover the fish.

Cook with no lid on for 50 to 60 minutes on medium heat, adding more water if it evaporates too quickly. Before serving, season to your liking and add a tablespoon of sugar if it is too sour.

Grilled sardines

4. Grilled fish


  • fresh fish
  • olive oil
  • rosemary
  • lemon
  • garlic
  • salt

If you get your hands on some freshly caught fish, preferably some bass (brancin in Croatia), the easiest and tastiest way is to simply grill the fish adding some basic ingredients. The most important thing is to oil and salt your fish enough, and it will be delicious every time! Grilling should be easy enough, just make sure to be careful and not overcook the fish. Bass should take no more than 15 minutes on the fire while smaller fish like sardines are good to go after about 5 minutes. When you have your fish nice and done, mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and fresh rosemary in a bowl and coat the fish after it's done to get the authentic Dalmatian flavours.  

Boiled octopus

5. Octopus salad


  • Octopus (1kg)
  • fresh lemon juice
  • 1onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
  • olive oil
  • capers
  • tomatoes
  • green and few black olives
  • salt
  • parsley
  • vinegar

Put the octopus in a large pot in a mixture of water and a little vinegar and cook for about 50 to 60 minutes. Do not salt the water and be careful not to overcook it by checking the consistency of the octopus every ten minutes. When the octopus is cooked, rinse the octopus with cold water and cut the tentacles and the head into rings. Mix the chopped octopus with chopped onion and garlic, and season it to your taste. Additionally, you can add capers, olives and olive oil to enrich the salad even more.

Chill it for a few hours in the refrigerator before serving and then drizzle fresh lemon juice on it. This cool salad will hit the spot nicely after a long day under the warm summer sun.

6. Buzara


  • shrimp (1 kg)
  • olive oil
  • fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 clove of garlic 
  • parsley 
  • can of peeled whole tomatoes 
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • salt & pepper

Put olive oil in a large heated skillet with a lid over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and cook uncovered until the breadcrumbs turn golden and smell toasty.

After the breadcrumbs are done, add garlic, parsley, tomatoes and seasoning. 

Bring it to a boil and then reduce it to simmer for about ten minutes, uncovered.

Then add wine, season with salt and pepper, and bring it to a boil yet again. Add the shrimp, reduce the heat, and cover with the lid. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through, and the juices have thickened. 

Serve the shrimp in a large bowl and make sure to collect the remaining cooking juice and sauce, which can be used for glazing the shrimp or simply dipping some fresh, homemade bread.

7. Fritule


  • 400 grams all-purpose flour
  • 12 grams baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 360 grams of plain yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon of rum or brandy (optional)
  • about 1l of sunflower oil for frying
  • powdered sugar for dusting

Best described as mini doughnuts, Fritule is a Croatian dessert that is delicious, easy to make and quickly done. The combination of a crunchy outside and soft and fluffy inside, makes Fritule a perfect choice for when you are craving something sweet. Warning, they are highly addictive!

Start by combining flour with baking powder in a bowl. Mix eggs, sugar, salt, yoghurt and vanilla extract (plus rum if you want to spice it up) in a separate bow.

Combine the ingredients from the two bowls and whisk until dough is smooth and there are no lumps

Pour at least two cm of oil into a frying pan and crank up the heat. It is essential to have enough oil in the pan so that the dough can float and not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the oil gets hot enough (test by dropping in a small piece of the batter and look for a sizzle), lower heat to medium.

Using two spoons, make a small ball out of the batter and place into the boiling oil. Keep them frying until they are golden brown on all sides.

Remove the done fritula, drain it on a piece of paper towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce.

And there you have it, seven delicious recipes, all wonderfully authentic and equally delicious, perfect for a week of culinary adventures as you sail the magnificent Croatian coast. Bon appetit!


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