Roštilj and gradele (grill roasting)

Roštilj and gradele (grill roasting)

There is practically no good food which Croats would not prepare on a grill (roštilj) in the continental part of the country, or rather on a gradele - its counterpart along the coast. And preparation is equally varied everywhere. All the better parts of meat are grilled, the meat coming from practically all kinds of animals: poultry, pig, yearling beef, beef, lamb, kid, game small and large, snails, frogs, fish, crabs, shellfish, molluscs, and even vegetables and cheese. Bread itself is improved on the grill to keep hunger at bay until the main attractions are ready.

 

Traditionally, the grill is tended by men who like to boast of their skills in this department, everyone having some special nuance or personal method which sometimes goes into meticulous detail, like the selection of the right kind of wood and, of course, the heat of the live coals. Highly sought after is dry grape vine, while some grill masters collect veritable boutiques of different dry woods, which are then further enhanced through the addition of aromatic plants, such as rosemary sprigs. Generally speaking, grilling is best when done over plenty of live coals which produce a gentle heat, whereas grilling over a fire is regarded as barbaric, or at least demonstrating a certain lack of good taste and manners.

Maja Danica Pečanić