Although no one is cruising during the coronavirus pandemic, I know many folks are ready to get back on a boat. Hopefully travel will return in the summer or fall of 2020.
One morning not too long ago (but in many ways, the trip seems years ago), I was in the Mediterranean aboard the Celestyal Crystal on their 3-Continent Cruise. Lucky me made my way to the ship’s main dining room to learn how to make a Greek specialty. The ship’s executive chef was going to demonstrate how to cook shrimp saganaki, a dish he promised, we could easily replicate at home. Plus, it’s one that doesn’t take much time.
He and the dish lived up to the promise.
The entrée includes shrimp sautéed in garlic and olive oil with a splash of ouzo. That alone sounds divine, but it all gets bathed in a rich tomato sauce, especially good when the sauce is homemade, (Chef uses ripe tomatoes and tomato paste that he simmers for three hours.) Before serving, sprinkle on feta cheese, an extra swirl of olive oil, and fresh herbs. Did you know there are more herbs in Greece than anywhere else in the world?
Chef tops the dish with a crispy crostini on the side, or use garlic bread as an alternative. When I make this, I suspect I will use a jar of sauce from the grocery store. Fresh tomatoes are not always the best in Florida where I live. You may also substitute calamari, mussels or other seafood.
Shrimp Saganaki: Compliments of Celestyal Cruises
1/4 c. chopped yellow onion
1-2 lbs. raw shrimp, deveined
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 ripe tomato, chopped
2 cups of tomato sauce, homemade preferred.
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/8 cup ouzo
1/4 cup olive oil (use less depending on your preference)
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped and/or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
Heat a pan and about 2 Tbsp of the olive oil. When hot, sauté chopped onions until they turn translucent, just a few minutes. Add the chopped garlic, but don’t let it burn.Add the shrimp, stir well. Add more oil, if needed.
Deglaze the pan with the dry white wine.
Add ouzo (ignite –carefully– if you want to impress your guests)
Add the chopped tomato and tomato sauce and simmer a few minutes.
When the sauce has become slightly thickened, remove from heat and add the feta cheese stirring lightly. Add chopped fresh herbs and check the final seasoning.
Do not overcook the shrimp.
The finished pan of Shrimp Saganaki is ready to serve.
Plate and serve with toasted garlic crostini or garlic bread.