Helena Nuich recently released her own cookbook, My Croatian Kitchen, celebrating Croatian heritage and the cuisine that Nuich and many other Kiwi Croatians have been brought up with.
My Croatian Kitchen is a unique cookbook with only a handful of its kind in New Zealand, showcasing Croatian cuisine’s tried and true favourites.
The collection of recipes is accompanied by narrative throughout the book, immersing the reader in nostalgia, culture and memories unique to the Croatian Kiwi immigrant’s tale.
My Croatian Kitchen began as a way to hold onto family recipes that had been passed down through generations in an effort to preserve what had been a central part of Nuich’s Croatian identity growing up in New Zealand.
Written through the lens of a first-generation New Zealander, My Croatian Kitchen explores the intertwined and inescapable relationship with food in a Croatian household, centred around family, community and connection.
Learning from her Mama and Babas (Grandmothers), Nuich found her passion for cooking early- watching the women in her life cook so effortlessly without a recipe in sight.
These recipes were never written down, which makes My Croatian Kitchen a special cookbook that documents a crucial part of Croatian and New Zealand history.
Nuich has shared her Frigane Paprike na Salatu (Fried Capsicum Salad) recipe for our Good readers to try.
Frigane Paprike na Salatu Recipe
Sweet and succulent capsicums meet tangy vinegar and bold olive oil to create the ultimate side dish.
- 16 – 20 capsicums (red, yellow & orange)
- Olive oil
- 4 -6 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp malt or balsamic vinegar
- Place whole peppers in two large, covered fry pans or stock pots with olive oil generously covering the base.
- Fry the peppers on high heat, once vigorous frying begins, turn down to a moderate heat. Have pot lids partially covering the peppers. Turn peppers frequently to ensure all sides are cooked through. Peppers will have some charring but ensure heat is low enough to cook the peppers. This takes 20 – 30 minutes.
- Once peppers are softened and sautéed, prick each with a fork. Fry for a further 5 minutes with the lid partially covering. Set aside ensuring the lid fully covers the pot or fry pan to allow the juices from the peppers to be released.
- Place vinegars, salt and pepper in a shaker or jar and shake well. Finely chop the garlic. Quantities of vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper can be modified to suit. Arrange peppers into serving dishes and sprinkle with chopped garlic. Pour over the vinegar, salt and black pepper mixture.
- From the pans or pots pour over the olive oil and liquids from the peppers. If there is excess oil, ensure the darker liquid from the peppers is maximised by removing it from the oil pouring it onto the peppers then adding the oil according to taste. Peppers should be three-quarters covered in the oil/vinegar mix allowing further infusion of flavours.
This salad can be prepared in advance as it can keep in the fridge for a week or so and is more flavoursome on day 2 or 3 of being prepared as flavours become more intense.