Buzara: Croatian Method of Cooking Seafood

Food & wine

If you love seafood, then you'll love Buzara — a traditional Croatian seafood cooking method that is simple yet delicious. Read this article to learn more.

Known as a supreme destination for foodies, Croatia has long ago cemented its status as a gourmet country, where the passion for food is outweighed only by that of football!

Standing out among the many characteristics that made Croatian cuisine so famous is the surprising contrast between the rich food of the continent and the lighter diet of the coast. 

The Mediterranean cuisine of the seaside is packed with delicious, yet healthy flavours of olive oil, seafood, garlic and sweet local wine. All these ingredients are essential for preparing one of the most authentic Croatian dishes of the coast, called buzara.

What is buzara?

The name “buzara” originated from the Venetian word for a cauldron that fishermen used to prepare freshly caught seafood in. Dalmatians adopted the word as the name of a coastal seafood specialty that can be prepared in more than one way. Fresh ingredients are a given!

Red or white?

There are two common varieties of buzara: “na bijelo” or “na crveno”, alluding to the white or red color of the buzara sauce. If you follow the recipe from this blog, you will get the white version of buzara. To make the red one, simply add some tomato sauce, fresh tomatoes and maybe opt for red wine instead of white. You may use tomato juice or canned tomatoes as well, depending on your preferences. If you opt for tomato puree in the red buzara recipe, you will get a smoother consistency that makes it simpler to eat with bread. 

The buzara-style of cooking simply means using olive oil, garlic, parsley and wine to make a sauce that doesn’t overpower the seafood, so playing with the recipe is more than welcome! 

The health benefits of buzara

Eating fresh, local ingredients is one part of enjoying buzara and Mediterranean cuisine. Health benefits are the other! Since all of the buzara’s ingredients have positive effects on your health, we’ll start with the main one — the seafood! Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and B vitamins are just a few of the essential elements found in seafood, which is also low in saturated fats and abundant in protein. Your body needs these nutrients to stay healthy, and they’re especially beneficial for your immune system, eyes, and brain.

Olive oil could improve the health of your bones, digestive system, heart, and blood sugar; garlic is good for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and tomato is a large dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene, which has been associated with a number of health advantages, including a decreased risk of cancer and heart disease.

How to make buzara at home?

The main star of buzara is definitely seafood. Usually made with scampi or mussels from the Adriatic Sea, it can also contain a variety of other shellfish, such as prawns, lobster or limpets. You can even add fish — the guiding principle of making buzara is making sure that the ingredients evoke the aroma of the sea, so as long as you follow it, your buzara will be amazing. 

However, if you wish to make an authentic scampi buzara, you will need: 

  • 1 kilo of scampi
  • 100 ml of olive oil 
  • 2 onions 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • one bunch of parsley 
  • 200 ml of white wine
  • some salt and pepper

Heat the pot with the olive oil, then add the chopped onions, garlic and parsley. When the garlic gets slightly golden, add the (previously washed) scampi, then white wine. Season it and cook for 15-20 minutes, just enough to let the flavours mix and subtly blend together.

If you enjoy this recipe (as we are sure you will), we encourage you to explore Mediterranean cuisine some more and check out our recipe for fresh Adriatic fish grilled in Dalmatian style!

If just reading this made you hungry, book you stay at Camping Village Šimuni and try out the delicious Croatian seafood in one of its fabulous restaurants. The Mali raj restaurant is widely known for its expertise in preparing buzara, but you can also try it during our “fishermen’s night”, a traditional Dalmatian outdoors festivity.