A Greek Dish to Savor

Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes (Garides Saganaki)

This dish is robust and full of flavor – the sweet tomato sauce contrasting nicely with the salty cheese and the bitey shrimp. It’s also very easy to make and festive enough for a dinner party entree. Garides is the Greek word for shrimp and saganaki is the pan in which it is baked. But I simply make the dish in a skillet on top of the stove.

To tell the truth, when I lived on a Greek island for six months in the 60’s, I never once ran into this dish. Greece, like most of Europe, was quite poor at the time and fish were sparse in the Mediterranean – it had been “fished out” people said. Octopus was plentiful, but the arrival of a couple of barbounia (red mullet) in the market was cause for celebration and quick acquisition.

How things have changed. With the farming of fish worldwide, shrimp is readily available in a mutitude of shapes and sizes. I know that fish farming is detrimental to the environment, but I can’t help being glad that at least shrimp and prawns are not priced beyond reach — or that they’re not nearing extinction.

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup white wine (or 1 tablespoon ouzo if you have it)

1 14-oz. can chopped tomatoes (or use fresh if they’re in season)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

salt and a pinch cayenne pepper

1-1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (the larger the better)

4 oz. good feta cheese

1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (or dill or parsley)

Saute the onion in the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet until soft.  Add the garlic and white wine or ouzo.  

Ouzo gives a slightly different, licorishy flavor but is more authentically Greek. Let it bubble and reduce, then add the chopped tomatoes, drained of most of their juice, a little salt (the feta is salty), the cayenne and dried oregano and cook over low heat until the sauce is slightly thickened and almost dry. Add the shrimp and cook briefly (3-5 minutes, depending on size).  Do not overcook. Add the feta and give it a minute to melt slightly, then add the chopped mint, or dill if you prefer. I like to serve this dish with simple boiled white rice and buttered spinach, but even on its own it will be sure to satisfy.

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5 comments
  1. G said:

    Jake & Sam,

    Really like the new format of the blog. Being a novice in the kitchen, I’d really like to see you add hyperlinks to cooking terms you use or might use in your blog, like sauté, reduce, caramelize, poach, etc., so that if the word is clicked the reader is directed to a blog you might write about your own unique techniques on getting the best results out of poaching a pear or an egg, if the reader clicks the hyperlinked word “poach,” for instance. Maybe the same utensils (ones you believe every cook should have in their kitchen, like a colander and what you think a cook should look for in selecting a good colander…something that might actually attract advertisers). That way the novice cook doesn’t leave your page to look up a term and then get distracted by other things on the web and not return until days later. Or even better, they use your website as THE REFERENCE GUIDE (maybe even have a reference guide off to the side of your homepage with utensils or terms hyperlinked), garnering you more web traffic.

    In addition, I LOVED the Christmas trifle! Magnificent!

  2. Brenda kaufman nelson said:

    Both my husband and I really enjoyed this dish. He suggested that it was a good meal to do again because it was so good. I was running late and trying to figure out dinner plans and remembered that I keep frozen shrimp. I looked in my pantry and refrigerator and had all the ingredients. This dish is so easy, quick, and absolutely delicious. Oh, by the way….it is healthy too. I will definitely keep this as a quick go to meal to prepare. Isn’t it great that simple ingredients can be so great tasting and easy to make!!! Try it. You won’t be disappointed

  3. G – Thanks very much for your suggestions, we appreciate them greatly. And, we agree! Links are very helpful….so, we’ve started adding them (see our most recent blog post “Super Bowl Sunday” for our favorite brand of tortilla chips) into our posts and plan on adding more in the future. Thanks for reading and commenting! -Sam

  4. Hi Brenda…as I’ve told my mom more than once, you’re our best customer! I’m so glad you’ve been cooking along with us and testing out all our recipes with your husband. If you have any suggestions for anything you’d like to see in the future (soups? more seafood? more pasta dishes?), let us know! -Sam

    • gretskey said:

      Hi Sam,
      I mentioned to your mom that with all her travels and vast experience with different cuisines I really would enjoy a culinary trip around the world. I really loved the West African chicken dish and the Eggplant dish so would love to see more like that. We are having so much fun trying out the new dishes and it makes “what’s for dinner tonight” so much easier to plan. Keep up the good work. Your photos are great and inspiring too. Makes everything look so appetizing!
      Brenda

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