Today we take eggs for granted and we enjoy them in dishes which everyone knows how to cook and boil, and in fact, the skill in the preparation of eggs through the centuries is even noted in top French cuisine. Moreover, the number of folds on the famous chef’s hat shows the level of a chef’s skills, in other words, the number of methods in which they know to prepare eggs.
One of the most popular dishes made from eggs in Croatia is the excellent fritaja (similar to an omelette) which is very frequently prepared in Istrian households. The keeping of chickens was common throughout Croatia and so eggs were a part of many recipes for savoury and sweet dishes, and they are the basic ingredient for fritaja, although they rarely contain just eggs. For especially filling and tasty fritaja real home-produced eggs that give this omelette style dish its beautiful yellow colour from free range chickens are needed.
Istrian fritaja is particularly tasty in springtime when it is prepared with fresh wild asparagus and spring onions, yet it can be eaten throughout the year with the addition of various species of mushrooms, prosciutto ham, bacon or chopped sausages.
Fritaja can be made with just two eggs, and on the coast, it is often prepared for local celebrations and numerous events, and at one occasion in Istria, a fritaja with asparagus was made containing five thousand eggs!
Before cooking in a deep pan, on a medium heat, the chosen number of eggs are mixed well in a bowl and then wild asparagus, an onion, dried bacon and various seasonal vegetables are added. The eggs are poured into the pan with a little hot oil, and when the bottom part of the fritaja sticks, it is necessary to turn it over and briefly cook it on a higher heat, so that it remains soft and creamy. For a richer fritaja the egg whites can be whisked first, and then added to the yolks and other ingredients. It is this variety of ingredients that makes fritaja a favourite quick meal affordable for every pocket.