About ten years ago, we hosted a Croatian high school student for a month at our home in Nashville. His name was Bruno. The following summer, his family invited us to their summer home on Brac, one of the Dalmatian Islands on the Adriatic coast. That vacation was one of the best trips of our lives.
Bruno’s parents, Lilijana and Mario, fixed our meals using local produce and products on the island. The honey came from the beehives of a friend, the red wine from a vat at a cousin’s house, the olive oil was pressed at another cousin’s home, and even the fresh tuna on the Fourth of July came from a friend at the pier. It was all so marvelous.
Lily was a fabulous cook. She probably used fifteen types of ingredients to make our meals. Her cooking was simple, fresh, and delicious. Some afternoons, she would mix equal parts of sheep milk feta and goat cheese with olive oil, garlic, and herbs and serve it with crusty bread as an appetizer. We devoured it. We dubbed it “Croatian Cheese.” The first thing I did when I returned home was to recreate it.
Approximately equal amounts of sheep (feta) and goat milk cheeses — the packages I used had 1 pound of feta and 10 ounces of goat cheese
A few sprigs each of rosemary, basil, and parsley
*3 small cloves of freshly chopped garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin, first cold pressed olive oil
Prepare the aromatics: snip the leaves and peel the garlic. Uncooked garlic has a much stronger flavor than cooked, so more is not better in this case
I make this in a food processor for convenience. Once you add the cheeses, just pulse the ingredients; do not puree. Refrigerate for a few hours to give flavors time to meld.
Pulse garlic cloves first. Add herbs and pulse. Add cheeses and pulse briefly. Finally, drizzle olive oil in and pulse one last time.
Garnish with herbs or thinly sliced scallions, if desired.
Below is a photo of my favorite memory of Croatia — our two families went on a sailing trip together.
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