Wish Upon A Dish: Shrimp Saganaki - a Greek Specialty

May 6, 2011

Shrimp Saganaki - a Greek Specialty

I have to laugh at The Nudge most times. He likes Cook's Country and on the weekend's they are on a few PBS channels. Last weekend they were making Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. He turns to me and says....Yum, that looks good, can you make that?

Well, yes I can make just about anything but....do I want to?

His sister made this baked shrimp and feta dish a holiday or 2 ago and I did not like the feta with the shrimp at all. I think it's because feta doesn't melt and cheese that is warm or hot to me should melt. I associate feta with salads. This dish isn't baked and it has more then just tomatoes in it, so I will give it a try.
I actually had leftover feta from a salad I made last week.

This dish, as are most Greek recipes, very healthy and flavorful. A friend asked me if Greek cooking is similar to The Mediterranean Diet. I told him yes, but because they are a country of islands, each island only eats what it can grow or make and also because they were not invaded by as many cultures as the mainland Europeans were, there were no heavy influences in the food arena. Their diet has not changed in hundreds if not thousands of years.

I do know they have a tomato, olive, and feta 'Greek' salad with every meal. Condiments are limited to olive oil, wine vinegars, lemon juice and pestos. How could a diet with those ingredients not be good for you?

This recipe makes a ton of really good sauce. I will store half of it for next week when I am planning on cooking nothing. Once I clean my house for vacation, I dirty nothing, so meals will be grilled, salads, eat outs or fast pasta dishes, this being one of them.

Knowing all this, I changed the shrimp salad that was originally on the menu to this dish:

Greek-Style Shrimp w/Tomatoes and Feta
serves 4-6
* 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired
* 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
* 3 tablespoons ouzo or Pernod
* 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)
* 1 teaspoon grated zest from 1 lemon
* Table salt and ground black pepper
* 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
* 1/2 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium (about 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 medium green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium (about 1/2 cup)
* 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
* 1(28-ounce) can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
* 1/4 cup dry white wine
* 4 artichoke hearts quartered or 16 canned/frozen hearts (this was my contribution)
* 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
* 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups) (see note)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves

1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Stir in artichoke hearts, and drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill or parsley.

Serve immediately over......

Rosemary Lemon Orzo Pilaf
Serves 2
adapted from epicurious.com

* 3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
* 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
* 1/2 cup chicken broth
* 3/4 cup water, heated
* pinch saffron, soaked in water
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

In a 1-quart heavy saucepan sauté orzo in butter over moderately high heat, stirring, until browned lightly and stir in remaining ingredients. Bring liquid to a boil and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove pan from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

How easy was that?

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