Wild about shrimp, Feta cheesePublished 12:00am Saturday, December 1, 2012
I have the luxury to live fairly close to a fish market and I love getting to buy some local wild caught shrimp. They are in season, and I always buy at least two pounds, one to freeze and one to cook right away. These gulf shrimp are good in dressings, stuffed mirlitons, and in pasta dishes. We have two shrimp dishes we repeat often: feta shrimp and barbeque shrimp.
For years I have being doing shrimp with feta and find it to be an outstanding combination of flavors. I discovered this dish on a soccer trip years ago at a restaurant in Greensboro, N.C., and do it still quite often. While reading the Nov. 12, 2012, issue of ‘bon appétit’ I found some information that made me rethink my original shrimp and feta from 30 years ago.
Someone asked about the shrimp and feta dish served at the Lord Bryon restaurant on the Island of Ios in Greece and wanted the recipe. Well, this got my attention. The answer came that the shrimp dish was called Shrimp Saganaki, a traditional Greek preparation named after the dish it is prepared in, and is best served straight from the skillet, with plenty of toasted bread for scooping up the savory tomato sauce. They also suggested that you use wild American shrimp and good feta cheese.
I could not resist trying this version and it was wonderful because of the tasty tomato sauce and the use of the anise flavored liqueur. You do not need the special Greek pan to cook this recipe, just use a large skillet. Also, since most of us do not have ouzo on hand, I used Pernod since you can get that in the local liquor store. I am giving you both versions. It is an easy dish to prepare and guests will love it.
4 appetizer servings
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 scallions, white part only, minced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup drained diced canned tomatoes
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. ouzo or other unsweetened anise-flavored liqueur (Pernod)
1 tsp. chopped flat-leafed parsley plus more for garnish
1 tsp. chopped fresh dill plus more for garnish
Pinch of dried oregano, preferably Greek
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 medium shrimp (preferably wild caught) about ½ lb. peeled, deveined (head on if desired)
1 4-oz. block feta
Slices of country-style white bread, toasted
Heat oil in a medium heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add scallions and garlic, cook stirring often, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until reduced by half, four to six minutes. Remove from heat; add wine, broth, ouzo, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. dill, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until tomato mixture is reduced by one-third, about five minutes.
Reduce heat to medium. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to skillet, arranging around edges. Place block of feta in center of skillet. Cover and simmer until shrimp are cooked through and feta is warm, four to five minutes.
Remove skillet from heat. Transfer shrimp and feta to a large shallow bowl, if desired. Garnish with parsley and dill. Serve with toast alongside.
Connie’s Take on Feta Shrimp
(Given in the Sept. 8, 2007 issue of The Andalusia Star News)
1 pound shrimp, peeled
8 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced
¾ cup feta cheese
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
In an oven proof casserole dish put the shrimp, tomatoes, garlic, and crumble feta over the mixture. Add the spices evenly over the dish. Add more red pepper flakes if you would like a spicier dish. Pour the oil evenly over the mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. This is usually served with rice.