My “Let’s Pretend it’s Summer” Dinner

If you live on the left coast like I do then your summer is probably off to a pretty crappy start, or you might even be thinking “what’s this thing called summer you speak of?”.  With the prospect of another cool, rainy night ahead of me I decided to give summer the middle finger and pretend I’m in Greece.  A co-worker of mine just got back from there and I was reminded of a recipe for shrimp saganaki that came to me from a friend who has also traveled in Greece a few years ago.  So unfortunately I can’t take the credit for this, but it’s too good not to share.

To me this dish is perfectly balanced.  Mind you I have no formal culinary training, and I spent the better part of my childhood eating McNuggets, but it has all the right components to transport me to a far away place in the sun.  In my mind it looks like this:

The shrimp saganaki is great as a main course, but I’ve also served it as an appetizer at a dinner party.  The most important element of this dish in my mind is the feta.  You have to splurge and use the good stuff because it’s the star of the show.  I use Shepherd Gourmet Dairy Greek Style Feta because I like the amount of salt and it’s a firmer feta so it holds up better when baked.  The other important element of this dish to me is making sure that you use Ocean Wise or other responsibly caught prawns.  Because I don’t live near a good fish monger I buy frozen prawns.

So here’s the recipe, take it, make it, love it and make it your own.

Shrimp Saganaki

  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2 large shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 large can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 T capers
  • 1/4 cup kalamata or other olives, halved
  • 1/2 T pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like heat)
  • 1 t oregano
  • Prawns (30-40)
  • 1 small container Greek feta, cubed

Method: Toss the prawns with the lemon juice and set aside.  In a large dutch oven saute shallots and garlic in olive oil until shallots are soft, about 5 min.  Add tomatoes, white wine, green onions, parsley, capers, olives, pepper flakes and oregano.  Season with salt and pepper, but be careful on the salt…capers, olives and feta all have a lot of natural salt so you probably don’t need to add much at all.  Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat broiler.  Once you have developed the level of flavour you want (or have time for) pour 1 cup of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a broiler proof casserole dish.  Arrange the prawns on top in one layer.  Top with the rest of the tomato mixture. Then, top with the feta cubes, pressing down to immerse them almost all the way in the sauce.

Broil on medium for about 10 minutes, until the prawns are cooked through and feta is bubbling.  Serve with crusty bread, and a green salad on the side.  I promise once you’re done with this beauty you’ll be saying opa and longing for a shot of ouzo!


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