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.
-1 lb shrimp, thawed and peeled*
-6 medium tomatoes, chopped
-1 yellow onion, finely chopped
-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
-1 Tablespoon chili flakes
-1/4 cup Ouzo
-1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
-5 assorted small peppers, sliced
-½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
-½ cup of olive oil
-3 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-salt and pepper
*Use your favorite kind of shrimp here. The smaller shrimps will take less time to cook. I prefer large prawns.
1. Peel and clean the shrimp. If frozen, thaw before by leaving out to thaw or running warm water on the shrimp.
2. Dice the tomatoes and strain the excess juices.
In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add in the chopped onion and sauté until the onion becomes wilted. Add the chopped garlic and peppers, season with salt and pepper and sauté the ingredients together until the peppers soften.
3. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover the pan with a lid. Let the tomatoes simmer until a sauce begins to thicken.
4. Add the shrimp to the pan and season with salt and pepper, and chili flakes to your preference of taste.
5. Add the ouzo to the pan and let the shrimp cook, about 3-4 minutes.
6. Reduce the heat on the pan and top with crumbled feta, and put the lid on top and let the feta melts slightly about 4 minutes.
7. To finish, garnish the dish with fresh parsley and serve warm. Serve with sliced bread and enjoy!