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Northeren Primorska regional cuisine has always been enriched by a variety of wild and cultivated herbs. Eggs were saved for holidays and special occasions. You can find it the menus of many restaurants, as a starter, main or side dish. It is neither an omelette nor a pancake, it is not a quiche and not even a pizza; it is something in between.

This egg-based dish is prepared with a combination of beaten eggs, flour, herbs, vegetables, cured meat (optional), and salt.

It's important that the herbs prevail, and they must be fresh. Frtalja is usually about 3 centimeters in height and it used to be a staple dish on May 1st, when it was related to the superstition that the first frtalja (usually made with fennel) drives vipers away.

  • mala fancelj ali frtalja 1

    Frtalja Photo: Grandma's Kitchen archives

For 2 Frtalja you need: 3 eggs, ca 5 Tsp flour (add more if needed), 50 ml sparkling water, 1 bundle of cilantro, 2 green chilis, 2 spring onions, half a bundle of basil, a handful of dill, 3 Tsp of corn, parmesan pieces, salt and pepper.

How to prepare it

Take a bowl and beat the eggs in it. Add the sparkling water, salt and pepper. Sparkling water makes it fluffier. Start adding the flour, little by little. Use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients well together. Continue mixing till you get a smooth, slightly thick but non-runny mixture.

Wash all the greens that go in the Frtalja and chop them. No need to be chopped too thinly. If you don’t like your food to be too spicy remove the chili seeds or the chili itself. Add all the chopped greens and the corn in the egg-flower mixture and give it a stir with a spoon to combine all the ingredients. There will be a lot of herbs and other greens, but that is the point of this dish.

Prepare a big frying pan and melt some coconut oil or Ghee in it. Only when the pan gets hot pour in half of the mixture. You can do a test with one drop of the mixture. If there are some small bubbles around it, it is ready. Pour the mixture in and spread it all over the surface of the pan; like you would do with a pancake. The only difference is that this “pancake” will be at least 1 cm thick.

Add some parmesan pieces and cover for a couple of minutes. You will see that the mixture is getting solid from the outside. When the mixture is not runny anymore, it is time to turn it around. The Frtalja must be turned so that it gets a nice golden brown colour on both sides. When turning it, be careful because the Frtalja is heavy, so better be quick. Leave it in the pan for another 3 minutes or till golden brown.

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Author: Tanja Glogovčan Belančić

Date: 28. October 2019

Time to read: 3 min