Market Day in Šibenik, Croatia

Overlooking the first fruit vendor booth at the fresh market

Overlooking the first fruit vendor booth at the fresh market

The fresh market in Šibenik, Croatia, is open every day.  However, Saturday morning is when shoppers turn up in large numbers and the most vendors are set up to serve them.  This is one occasion where I make no effort to avoid the crowds. 

I embarrassed the bread lady when I asked for a photo.

I embarrassed the bread lady when I asked for a photo.

Surrounding the open air market is an array of meat and cheese shops and my favorite bakery kiosk where my preferred baguette of whole grain bread costs $1.20.  I have returned so often that the lady no longer needs to ask me what I want. 

There is a fish market and several butcher shops.  However, I am eating mostly vegetarian these days, so I peruse these shops mostly out of curiosity.   I will say it is a good thing I no longer have a barbecue grill, because I cannot envision this vegetarian lifestyle if there were a grill on my deck.

The vine ripened tomatoes look awesome.

The vine ripened tomatoes look awesome.

I love the hum of the crowd and the animated vendors encouraging shoppers to take advantage of their great deals.  And most of the fruits and vegetables are great deals.  I bought a pomegranate for 60 cents.  We mix and match a variety of apples for about 40 cents/pound, and we get pears for about 65 cents/pound.  Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are about the same.  Potatoes and onions are quite inexpensive.  Bananas are over 90 cents/pound because they come from Ecuador or Costa Rica.  However, we save so much on other produce that we do not mind paying extra for bananas.  The eggplants, which are not my favorite vegetable, look amazing.  They are thin and firm with few seeds, perfect for the way Florence cooks them and the way I most enjoy them (recipe below).

Fish and meat, cheese, honey and condiments - there is much more than produce available at the market.

Fish and meat, cheese, honey and condiments – there is much more than produce available at the market.

Florence’s Recipe for Baked Eggplant Wafers

Mike has never been a fan of eggplant, especially when it is cooked in thick slices that become mushy when baked.  However, when I bake thin wafers of eggplant so that they come out of the oven with the texture of a cookie, there are seldom leftovers.  He even requests them if we have gone a long time without having had some.

Ingredients: 

2 or 3 small to medium-sized eggplants
Approximately 1 cup of bread crumbs
¼ cup olive oil
1 egg or egg substitute

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread a layer of olive oil across the sheet.

Peel eggplants and slice into thin wafers no more than ¼” thick.  Bathe in whipped egg and then coat both sides of eggplant wafers in bread crumbs. 

Lay bread crumb-coated eggplant wafers on oiled cookie sheet and bake about 20 minutes on one side or until they begin to brown.  Remove cookie sheet from oven and flip eggplant over to bake on second side also until lightly browned.  They will come out of the oven with the texture of a cookie that is crispy on the outside and still slightly moist inside.  Serve hot. This recipe will yield two or three sheets of baked eggplant wafers depending on the size of the eggplants.

Save leftovers to snack on either cold or reheated.  Try using some leftovers in a sandwich.

If you try this recipe, let me know if you like it or any variations you may have tried.

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16 comments on “Market Day in Šibenik, Croatia

  1. Well, this should make you feel really good… I just bought Jonogold apples (in season) at the B’ham farmer’s market, and got a deal at $2.40 a lb!!! Sounds like you can eat like kings in Croatia! As for the eggplant, sound delish and I will try it! I have some suggestions for this recipe… ala Israel: take cooked eggplant cookies and put them inside pita, with sliced hard boiled egg, salt to taste, tahini, thinly sliced tomato (and the ones at your market look incredible!) and some humus. It is TO DIE for!! Oh, now I’m hungry again! 😉 The market looks divine! I think you will be sad to leave there.

    • Mike Lince says:

      I know we are getting a good deal on food, but I hope I did not make you or anyone else feel bad about our food prices. I am in sticker shock at $2.40/lb. for apples. Maybe I am getting spoiled. You are right that we eat well. After visiting the market we stopped for pizza, and they make great pizza in Croatia. Two 12″ pizzas, beverages and tip – $20. (We did not know their individual pizzas were that large. We had pizza for dinner, too.)
      Your Israeli variation sounds fantastic and it is a nice vegetarian option. I might go with cheese in lieu of egg because there is so much great local cheese available here in Croatia. Now I am hungry, too! 🙂 – Mike

  2. reocochran says:

    This market post has me hungry! I love fruits and vegetables, admire your diet of healthy foods. I would have to have some fish and meat, but not more than once or twice a week! I live fairly simply but agree, your prices there are amazing! You and Florence have a great idea with eggplant, I love something here, not sure if available there? Spaghetti squash with a nice mushroom and tomato sauce. It is like an orange squash but has stringy strands to make it a healthier version of spaghetii. Thanks for all the lovely comments on all of my posts, you are an amazing and supportive friend. We celebrate Veteran’s Day tomorrow here, so will thank your father who served us well…through his son, you, Mike.

    • Mike Lince says:

      I know I am fortunate not only to have the great selection of healthy foods, but also to have such great prices. We do not see a lot of squash here in the coast region of Croatia. Inland I think they grow more varieties of vegetables.
      Thank you for your kind words and thoughts. Enjoy your Veterans Day holiday. – Mike

  3. It warms my heart that the vegetarian diet has really stuck with you guys Mike! I’ve never been a big fan of eggplant either, but this recipe may win me over too. My compliments to Florence. 🙂

    • Mike Lince says:

      Now you see why I nominated you some time back for Most Influential Blogger. You have certainly influenced my life in a significant way. As for eggplant, for most of my life I would just look at eggplant and think ‘yuk’. Then Florence put her version in front of me and now I can say something like, “I would eat them on a plane, I would eat them on a train….” 🙂 – Mike

  4. Mike and Florence, Your fresh market looks amazing! And I love that the two of you did a post together. Your technique for baking eggplant looks delicious – I can’t wait to try it. We make a similar dish with thin slices of eggplant topped with a mixture of spinach and feta cheese topped with a few pine nuts or walnuts. It’s the dish that made us fall in love with eggplant, but I think your eggplant chips will become our new craze! ~Terri

    • Mike Lince says:

      Yes, we love our fresh market. This post was our first attempt at co-writing. I am pleased it was well-received.
      I admit I am not all that adventurous when it comes to food. All my life, whenever I had eggplant on my plate, I would respectfully choke it down so as not to insult the cook. I never thought I would like it. But now I do. And I hope you enjoy it, too. – Mike

  5. jhornmex says:

    The egg plant recipe sounds great except for a cup of bread crumbs. I don’t do white bread. But I think you could save some of your whole wheat baguette, let it dry out, and roll out some healthier bread crumbs. I’ve done that cubed for turkey stuffing and the taste is great. Sorry you’re living without a grill. Hope the next step isn’t a monastery!

    • Mike Lince says:

      We just returned from a wonderful day exploring the area with local hosts to show us around. You would love the local Babić red wine. It is only produced locally. Given the amount of wine and rakija we consumed today, I do not think a monastery is a likely future step. Good suggestion on the breadcrumbs, Jim. That would be an improvement on Florence’s recipe. Thanks! – Mike

  6. Looks fabulous…Croatia is high on our list of places to side trip to when the wife and I get to take the kids abroad next. Can’t wait to make the babies world travelers, and from what I’ve seen on TV and in posts like this, Croatia sure seems like a place with a lot to discover. And taste!

    • Mike Lince says:

      Croatia is a beautiful country and the people are justifiably proud of it. The people remind me of when my wife and I visited Sicily last year and I met some of her relatives. You never leave hungry or thirsty. Also, there is no shortage of local wines and olive oil. Let’s just say you will love it! Thank you for following and for sharing your comments. – Mike

      • Perfect! From watching Tony Bourdain’s exploration of it, it sounds like it might be the next big thing. Gotta get there before it gets “discovered.” Though I sense that there’ll always be that opportunity to find the off the beaten path excellence you can still find even in touristy places like Venice…if you know where to look!

      • Mike Lince says:

        Split and Dubrovnik have already been discovered by the cruise industry. Šibenik gets kind of busy in the summer as does most of the Dalmatian Coast. The best way to get away is by boat. The islands offer some very secluded and beautiful spots. For others, I think Primosten is far enough off the beaten path for those who want to experience summers without the major crowds.

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