One summer, while attending high school, my family and I traveled to Croatia for a two-week vacation. Set next to the beautiful Adriatic Sea, we stayed in Vodice, a historic town founded under the Roman Empire that features an abundance of Mediterranean architecture. Alternating days between the beach and sightseeing the town’s wonderful stone buildings, we found ourselves in constant exploration moving deeper into the town as the days passed.
One of those beach days, a mild salt-water breeze came in about an hour before sunset. Sweep up in the atmosphere, no one realized that hunger snuck into our stomachs. In an instant, we became not just hungry, but hangry. With the nearest restaurant the best option, we walked about twenty minutes finally finding an open cafe. Nerves frayed, by the time we arrived no one talked to each other and each of us hastily sat down at a table.
About two minutes later, a grandmotherly figure emerged from the kitchen. This nice, extremely polite Croatian woman started a conversation with us and we soon learned her husband not only owned the cafe but served as its chef. As she handed us menus, we told her with a pinch of humor to cook us whatever she thinks is tasty. Being too tired and hungry to read a menu, we placed ourselves in her care. Seeing the pure despair in our eyes, she quickly read the situation and said, “I know what you will like, my husband and I will cook something special for you,” and then she returned to the kitchen.
After waiting for about a half an hour, assisted by her husband, she brought out a huge sheet pan with grilled fish covered in local herbs alongside a giant bowl of the best tomato salad I ever ate. After a delightful meal, my mother mustered up the courage to ask for the recipe, surprisingly the local woman shared it with us. Being worthy of publishing, this Croatian recipe proudly finds its place here on Jiggers n’ Drams. Not only the fish but the tomato salad recipe as well. Enjoy and let us know how much you liked it!
Herb Butter Oven-Baked Haddock
- Cutting board
- Baking sheet pan
- Medium-size grilling pan
- Aluminum foil
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 rosemary sprigs
- 2 thyme sprigs, leaves chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 haddock fillets
- 2 medium-sized lemons
- 1 butterhead lettuce
- 4 red carrots
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Melt four tablespoons of unsalted butter.
- Add chopped rosemary and thyme leaves, minced garlic, salt, and pepper to the melted butter. Mix and set aside.
- Slice two lemons.
- Cover the top of the baking sheet pan with aluminum foil, and layout the lemon slices
- Put aside about two tablespoons of the herb butter, we will need it later. Spread the rest of the herb butter onto haddock fillets.
- Lay the haddock fillets on the baking sheet pan with lemons, facing the skin. Cut about two inches long lines into the skin, and spread the herb butter on the top. Put in the oven, and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the haddock fillets are baking, wash the red carrots and the leaves of the butterhead lettuce. Put the carrots into a grilling pan, and spread the two tablespoons of herb butter we put aside earlier on them.
- Grill the carrots until they slightly brown, about 6 minutes. Don't forget to turn them around regularly, so they grill from all the sides.