Value: 4.6 Croatian Kuna
Author: Damir Fabijanic, Fotograf iz Zagreba
Size: 29,82mm x 35,50mm
Paper: White, 102g, gummed (selfadhesive: white, wood-free, 181g)
Perforation: Decorative Perforation
Technique: Multicolor Offset Printing
Printed by: "Zrinski" Cakovec
4.6 Croatian Kuna - CROATIAN GASTRONOMY - SPIDER CRAB
Inside the shield of the spider crab there rests tender white pulp of extreme structure and exquisite taste, which is the reason why the spider crab is by many considered as the most tasty crab, especially in winter and early spring months when its size and taste are optimal.
Spider Crab (Lat. Maja squinado) In the group of arthropods, in a huge family of crabs, the spider crab (in Croatia also called grancigula from Italian granseola) has a special place. Protected by a very hard, rough shield of spiny surface, it leaves an impression of a shielded medieval knight always ready for fighting. The spider crab is of a heart-like shape and on each side there are seven longer spines, while on the shield there is scattered tiny hair. It has got four pairs of dotty, red, long legs and in front also pincers. It can grow up to 25 cm in diameter and the biggest specimen weight up to 1.5 kg. Most often it dwells at the depth of 10-30 meters but sometimes also at the depth of more than hundred meters. It feeds on other arthropods, small fish and decayed organisms supplemented also by sea flora. At the time of coupling it migrates to shallower parts of the sea; catching spider crab is prohibited from June until November. Inside the shield of the spider crab there is a pulp of exceptional structure and exquisite taste - the reason why its tender, fibrous texture is by many considered as the most tasty crab food, especially in winter and in early spring months when its size and taste are optimal. It is most often found off the west coast of Istria and in Kvarner Bay; it is caught by special gillnets and drift nets. It can also be caught by divers who simply catch it by hand while it slowly moves along sea floor. The female spider crab is considered more tasty, especially when full of roe. The spider crab is cooked for about fifteen minutes in water, with the shield facing up and its jointed legs tied. When cooked and left to get cold it is cut on the lower side of the shield, the meat is taken out by a fork, also the meat from the legs, and the roe it taken out by a small spoon. It is served in the simplest way - on salad – seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Some of the recipes also allow (according to taste) adding of stone leek and the most spectacular way of serving spider crab is on salad and in its own shield. It is also excellent when prepared with pasta and with just a small quantity of tomato sauce so that it does not prevent sensing the refined taste of crab meat. According to a traditional recipe from Šibenik the crab meat can be put into a pan with several slices of fried onion and some bread crumbs. All is stirred, parsley and olive oil, salt and pepper are added and the spider crab is served in its reddish-pinkish shield.
4.6 Croatian Kuna - GASTRONOMY - OYSTER
Experts and gourmands agree in their view that in all gastronomic spectrum, including the best known sea titbits nothing can compare with the delicacy of the taste of raw oyster sprinkled with some drops of home-grown lemon
Oyster (Lat. Ostrea edulis) When an expert with a knowing grip and just one precisely measured hand movement opens an oyster from Ston, lays it on a bed of smashed ice and then in a couple of minutes fills the whole tray decorated with lemon with these raw sea delicacies in stone shell, everything is ready for a gastronomic ritual unique on world scale. This is because the Ostrea edulis, a rarity sort of oyster from Stone, that in its silky texture appears nude in front of the excited consumer, is extinct in other areas and survives only in Morocco and in the Bay of Mali Ston, Croatia. The talk is here about a world gastronomic phenomenon of unique taste - an oyster achieving its full size and richness of taste in the time of winter-to-spring transition period. Because of its biodynamic characteristics the Bay of Mali Ston has been declared a zone A or sea with the highest level of cleanliness and the oyster from Mali Ston is by its quality unmatched with its ocean kin. Experts and gourmands agree in their view that in all gastronomic spectrum, including the best known sea titbits nothing can compare with the delicacy of the taste of raw oyster sprinkled with some drops of home-grown lemon and - which is of no less importance – consumed in the vicinity of its natural source, in the opulence of the ambience of the Croatian south littoral. The Bay of Mali Ston is exposed to the influence of the river Neretva, the mixing of salty sea and fresh-water of the river, strong currents, high and low tides, all of which favour the breeding of sea shells of exceptional quality. The enthusiasts and lovers of Stone oysters served in the most natural way are aware that they enjoy the unique natural treasure that only the well-balanced co-existence of sea and fresh-water can offer. Maybe sometimes we are even not aware that such gastronomic rarity is not available to milliards of people, that the oyster from Ston would be sufficient for gastronomic branding of the whole Adriatic and that by its consuming our senses experience highest delights. One experienced grip, a drop of lemon-juice and the ritual can start. I am not quite sure whether it is better to say that the oyster is eaten or still „ drank“, or slurped from its stone shell, but I believe that at that moment the essence of the best from the Adriatic sea is transfused into our organism.
4.6 Croatian Kuna - CROATIAN GASTRONOMY - OCTOPUS
Octopus has passed a long way from a national, almost poor-people's food to the high-quality delicacy dish offered in many restaurants alongside with white fish and other sea delicacies, approaching them also in price
Octopus (Lat. Octopus vulgaris) Octopus has passed a long way from a national, almost poor-people’s food to the high-quality delicacy dish offered in many restaurants alongside with white fish and other sea delicacies, approaching them also in price. This mollusc with eight tentacles with round suckers that the Dalmatian people call “botuni” (buttons) owes its way into high society to its always smaller catch but also to many inventive recipes for its preparation and to its always more appreciated taste in combination with other tastes. Somewhat bigger octopuses, regularly those that weight more than 1 kg should be made softer according to ancient custom by battering it 99 times against rock or with meat beater. It is also recommended to put it for several days into fridge so that its generally tough structure would soften, which is very convenient for the restaurant owner who thus can always have it in frozen condition independent of the daily offer in the market or conditions at sea. Octopus lives on stony sea floor, hiding itself in openings which it closes with flat stones in order to protect itself from the assault of sea predators. It is most easy to catch it when it leaves its shelter in search for food and ends as prey of knowing fishermen armed with gaffs and underwater fishing gun or in their fishing nets. It is prepared in a simple way and in different manners. Cleaned octopus is put in cold, salted water with head facing the bottom of the dish into which - for faster cooking and softening many people put two corks. When the skin detaches from the body, we can test whether it is cooked or still though by punching it with fork. The octopus is in principle cooked after about twenty minutes to half an hour and for the simplest dish – octopus on salad – it is necessary to first cut it into slices and then season it with olive oil or vinegar or - at wish - balsamic vinegar. To salad also capers, pepper and at wish stone leek or onion, or instead of onion also chives are added. Often, potato is added cut in pieces or slices. Octopus can also be prepared with young fava beans and pasta so that the cooked octopus cut in slices is shortly stewed on onion together with cooked fava beans and pasta. Recently very popular is octopus backed under the bell with potatoes and seasoned with rosemary and laurel. The melting of these foods results in an excellent taste of the dish. Octopus - once common people’s dish – has thus turned into a widely accepted sea titbit and an important part of restaurant offer, from entree to the main dish.
4.6 Croatian Kuna - GASTRONOMY - GILTHEAD SEA BREAM
Gilthead sea bream grows up to the weight of 10 kg and like other „fish of stone“ that mostly dwell in deeper sea, counts among the best fish titbits and is sold at high price in markets.
Gilthead Sea Bream (Lat. Sparus aurata) Gilthead sea bream is among the most appreciated Adriatic white fish. In local dialect it is also called different other names: komarča, lovrata and podlanica. Bigger gilthead sea breams have strong jaws and sharp front predator‘s teeth while the second row of teeth consists of „crusher“ teeth (molars) apt for most though morsels. During recent years gilthead sea bream has been causing a lot of damage in the bay of Mali Ston, devastating oysters: the leader of the shawl crushes shells threaded on a string and the rest of the shawl collects the remains and feeds on meat of oysters and mussels. Gilthead sea bream grows up to the weight of 10 kg and like other „fish of stone“ that mostly dwell in deeper sea, counts among the best fish titbits and reaches high price in markets. Together with dentex, grooper, John Dory (the fish of St. Peter/St. Pierre), sea bass, sole, greater amberjack and other “excellencies” of the Adriatic underwater, gilthead sea bream is prepared in two basic ways: cooked (in Dalmatian dialect: “na lešo”) or grilled in open air or in oven. The way of preparing depends mostly on the weight of the fish and the lovers of this fish appreciate it most when it weight less than 1 kg. Special delicacy is the head of the gilthead sea bream, regularly served to food experts. In order to prepare the larger gilthead sea bream in one piece on grill, a lot of skill and experience is needed. Sometimes a bigger fish of more than several kilograms is cut at its length into two halves and then the halves are grilled on slow fire in order to be put together and served as fish grilled in one piece. It is important that gilthead sea bream is grilled on highly caloric holm-oak wood of special fragrance that ennobles the fish during grilling; preparation procedure ends with olive oil seasoning. Any fish served with olive oil poured over it and mixed together with finely-cut garlic and parsley is considered a gastronomic indecency and it is a very unapt way to hide that the fish is not sufficiently fresh. Although it is not wise to play with superlatives, for the Adriatic wild gilthead sea bream one can easily conclude that it is in the mere top of the world gastronomy; anyone who has ever tasted ocean fish from warmer seas with sandy bottoms, seasoned with all kinds of oils and dressings, can attest to it. It is important to bear in mind that the gilthead sea bream is in our country widely available, since together with dentex it is also offered in the market as bread species of solid quality. Still, for those who can tell the key difference in quality between the wild and bred gilthead sea bream, skilled cooks will find a witty solution to that problem in their ingenious dish preparation. Bred filleted gilthead sea bream e.g. on the bed of lentil and with fennel foam can be turned into a titbit that will satisfy even the most sensitive palate.