Here’s one dish I don’t get enough of (and wish I did)—shrimp saganaki. I don’t make it very often since discovering my older brother, Pete, is allergic to shrimp and other shellfish. I will not be the one to send him into anaphylactic shock. I care for my brother’s well-being and I’m somewhat upset with him and his allergies. I want my shrimp! If you’ve ever tried shrimp saganaki, you’d understand.
“Saganaki” refers to a variety of Greek dishes cooked in a particular, small, usually round, frying pan. Most of us are familiar with cheese saganaki, a dish that is set aflame and is put out by a splash of ouzo and a loud shout of “OPA!” (The flaming cheese saganaki was invented in Chicago’s Greek Town, no less—not Greece). There’s also a saganaki made with mid-size anchovies or smelts, wine, and fresh herbs. Despite my dad’s best efforts, I’m not an anchovy fan so I stay far away from that dish.
When my shrimp allergic brother isn’t over for dinner, I make shrimp saganaki. It has it all—seafood (that isn’t anchovies), fresh herbs, ouzo, and is even topped with feta cheese. It’s easy to make, too. All it requires is peeling the shrimp, chopping up the veggies and herbs, and letting all the wonderful flavors cook together in the frying pan. Serve with crusty bread, because the delicious juice from the tomato and herb sauce should never go to waste.
- 2 pounds shrimp, thawed and peeled*
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 5 assorted sweet mini peppers, sliced
- 7 medium tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ cup ouzo
- 8 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- Peel and clean the shrimp. If frozen, leave the shrimp out to thaw. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, peppers and garlic.
- Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Season with oregano, chili flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the ouzo and allow the shrimp to cook, about 3-4 minutes.
- Fold in the feta and cook until the feta melts, about 5 minutes.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm. Enjoy with a glass of ouzo.