Lady Pipi’s Ćevapčići

I recently returned from a vacation to Croatia. In Dubrovnik, in a restaurant called Lady Pipi, I ate some of the best grilled meat and seafood of my life. I won’t bore you with details of a restaurant you probably won’t have the opportunity to eat in anytime soon. Although I will mention that it calls itself Lady Pipi because of a semi-pornographic statue of a lady pissing into a fountain that stands outside the restaurant.

Lady Pipi

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I was so inspired by my meal there, I decided to reproduce it at home. Ćevapčići are casing-less sausages spiced with paprika. They’re eaten all over the Balkans with ajvar, a roasted red pepper and eggplant paste, also known as Serbian caviar. The Ćevapčići from Lady Pipi were sublime: tender and a little spicy, cooked in a wood-fired outdoor oven, and made from locally sourced ingredients.

The following recipe makes enough to serve about eight people. We had three people and were eating leftovers for three days. They’re small but very dense and I was full from eating just three of them with grilled vegetables, ajvar, and pickles. Serve with a bottle of Dalmatian red wine and gorge yourself until you can’t stand up anymore.

Ajvar

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2 eggplants

6 red bell peppers

Salt and pepper

2 garlic cloves

Juice of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon paprika

1/2-cup olive oil

1.) Over an open flame on a gas stove, char vegetables carefully until the skins are black and blistering.

2.) Rinse skins off under the sink or peel off. Remove the seeds.

3.) Combine vegetables with salt, pepper and paprika in a food processor. Whiz until combined and the vegetables are chopped up to the texture you desire (some like it chunky, others smooth.)

4.) Add garlic and lemon juice, and with the motor running, add olive oil slowly. 

Ćevapčići

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Adapted from allrecipes.com

1½ lb ground pork

1 lb ground beef

1 lb ground lamb

1 egg white

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

3 teaspoons black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper

1-teaspoon paprika.

1.)   Light a hot fire in your grill and wait for the flames to go down.

2.)   Combine pork, beef, and lamb with the egg white and mix with your hands until combined. Add garlic, salt, pepper, baking soda, cayenne, and paprika. Mix again with your hands.

3.)   Form into sausages about the length of your index finger and 3/4ths of an inch wide.

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4.)   Oil grill and place sausages around but not on the heat source. Cover the grill and cook for a half an hour, or until cooked through, turning sausages once throughout cooking.

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