CROATIA’S “SOPARNIK” CHARD PIE AND THE BALKAN’S “AJVAR” ROASTED PEPPER DIP
I just returned from a Silversea Cruises Culinary Adventure. Today I’m sharing two delicious souvenirs from Croatia. These simple dishes were truly eye-openers. “Soparnik” is a crispy, garlic-scented hand pie filled with chard, spring onions, and parsley. It’s a perfect starter– especially when paired with today’s second recipe, “Ajvar”. Smoky-flavored, this traditional Balkan relish of eggplant and roasted red peppers, is served as a side dish or on its own, spread on bread. We dipped our “Soparnik” into it. The Chard-filled pastry took on another flavor dimension. Under the tutelage of Silversea S.A.L.T. Labs’ Host, Erin Montgomery, and her able assistant, Aravindhan, who prepped both dishes, both came together in just under an hour. Both will take a little longer in your home kitchen. But they’re easy to make and worth every minute.
THE BIG SURPRISE ABOUT BOTH THESE RECIPES? THEY’RE VEGAN!
Much to my surprise, at the end of class, Erin Montgomery pointed out that both Soparnik and Ajvar adhere to the principles of Vegan Cooking. While both are obviously vegetarian, these two dishes go one step further. There’s not one single ingredient from the animal kingdom…no dairy, eggs, or honey. An even greater surprise? An omnivore, I enjoyed every bite of both.
THE STORY OF SILVERSEA’S S.A.L.T. AS TOLD BY MY FRIEND AND FELLOW REPORTER, SUSAN M. YOUNG.
For Susan’s complete report go to: https://blog.pavlus.com/2023/08/15/silverseas-new-silver-nova-s-a-l-t-is-better-than-ever/
HERE’S MY REPORT ON S.A.L.T. ABOARD SILVERSEA’S NEWEST SHIP, SILVER NOVA.
In 2019, I traveled halfway around the world to experience the very beginnings of a Silversea Cruises concept: To bring the flavors and recipes of every Silversea destination to her passengers. Susan and I and 18 other American travel journalists were there to witness the birth of a remarkable new program called “Sea And Land Tastes” or S. A. L. T. The brainchild of Silversea’s now President Barbara Muckermann, S.A.L.T. is helmed by Adam Sachs. A 3-time James Beard Award Winner and former Editor of Saveur Magazine, Adam introduced us to S.A.L.T. as we traveled from Bali to Borneo and the Philippines. We were immersed in each port’s cuisine along the way. Now, four years into the program, despite COVID and its challenges, S. A. L. T. Is an unqualified success. Now aboard Silversea’s Silver Moon and Silver Dawn, I flew to Europe to board Silversea’s remarkable new ship Silver Nova and to see the evolution of S.A.L.T., an integral part of this glorious new build.
S.A.L.T. is made up of four parts:
Aboard ship, there’s S.A.L.T. Kitchen, a restaurant, S.A.L.T. Bar a innovative cocktail and wine venue, S.A.L.T. Lab an onboard Cooking School and S.A.L.T. Shore Excursions which take Silversea guests on myriad Cuisine-focused tours.
Aboard Silver Nova, S.A.L.T. is bigger than ever.
S.A.L.T. Kitchen has expanded both its presence and its style. The restaurant is truly a stunner—with both a port-specific and regional menu to please every palate. A new emphasis on Vegetarian and Vegan dishes means whatever your preferences there’s a local specialty made for you. The incredibly popular S.A.L.T. Bar too has grown in size and in position at the top of the ship. Its Drinks menu has been expanded to acknowledge the growing number of non-alcoholic drinkers while its regional wine selections are more complete than ever. But the blowout growth of S.A.L.T. is nowhere more apparent than in the stunning new S.A.L.T. Lab. There, 22 students at a time take part in hands-on cooking classes where in just an hour they create regional dishes like the ones I am sharing today. And every lesson learned is in a glorious new kitchen with floor-to-ceiling views of the sea. Then at night, the kitchen becomes The Chef’s Table, an intimate dining room where dinner is celebrated with an 11-course tasting menu.
And to think, it all started on Silver Muse just four short years ago! Congratulations Barbara Muckermann, President of Silversea, and to Adam Sachs and his whole crew of experts in great culinary adventures.
FOR INFORMATION ON ALL S.A.L.T. SAILINGS, GO TO: WWW.SILVERSEA.COM
HERE ARE TODAY’S RECIPES AND AFTER THEM, SOME OTHER S.A.L.T. POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY.
Soparnik: Croatian Chard Pie
This simple dish was first considered as fasting and/or food for the poor: simple dough made of plain flour, water, dash of salt and a splash of olive oil, filled with Swiss Chard and now it's declared as intangible cultural heritage of Croatia.
- FOR THE DOUGH
- 500 g (4 Cups) flour
- 270 ml (1.5 Cups) water
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- good pinch of salt
- olive oil and water for brushing
- FOR THE FILLING
- 300 g (12 oz)chard
- 100 g (4 oz) spring onions
- Small bunch flat-leaf parsley
- 2 cloves garlic
- 50 ml (1/4 Cup) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Step 1 Preheat the Oven to 200°C/400°F
- Step 2 Prepare the vegetables: wash the chard leaves, dry and cut them into thin strips. Slice the spring onions and mince the garlic. Shred the parsley.
- Step 3 Put the vegetables, oil, and salt into the bowl and toss well to combine.
- Step 4 Make the dough by combing the flour, oil, and salt, then adding the water. Knead to form a soft but elastic dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Step 5 Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces that will make the top and bottom for 2 pies.
- Step 6 Take 2 pieces of baking paper sized 40cm×40 cm (15×15 inches). Roll 2 pieces of dough thinly and place on the baking paper. Take one rolled piece, spread half of the filling on it, and then top it with a second piece of rolled dough (remove it from baking paper).
- Step 7 Press the top with your palms so the pie gets thinner, and then close the pie by twisting the dough’s edges. Brush the pie with olive oil and prick with a fork
- Step 8 Do the same with the other 2 pieces of dough.
- Step 9 Bake Soparnik at 200°C/400 F for 20 mins or until it gets golden and crispy.
- Step 10 Immediately when you take it out of the oven, brush Soparik with garlic-infused olive oil
Anjar Balkan Roast Pepper Dip
Prepared at the beginning of autumn, when peppers are at their peak, ajvar is a traditional Balkan relish that's typically spread on bread or served as a side dish. Its smoky flavor is a great match for grilled or roasted meats, especially lamb.
- 2 red peppers
- 1 small eggplant
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup water (optional)
- 1 tsp red chili pepper flakes
- (optional if you like spicy ajvar)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Step 1 Roast peppers and eggplant for about 20 minutes. It’s important to allow for the peppers’ skin to char.
- Step 2 Remove the tray from the oven and place the peppers in a bowl and cover them with plastic wrap. Let the peppers and eggplant cool until you can handle them by hand. Remove peppers’ skin and seeds. Peel the eggplant. You can dice the vegetables finely, or use a mill or blend them.
- Step 3 In a saucepan, add olive oil and sauté the minced garlic until fragrant. If you are adding spicy chili, this is the time to add it.
- Step 4 Add blended red pepper & eggplant mix to the pot and mix thoroughly. If the mix is too thick already you can add a half cup of water.
- Step 5 Lower heat to simmer, cover the pot and let everything simmer together for about 2 hrs. Just check occasionally so Ajvar does not get too thick.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER S.A.L.T. POSTS YOU MAY ENJOY: