Inspired by the Shrimp Saganaki we enjoyed at Mamakas Taverna on Ossington Avenue last autumn, I prepared this dish as part of a Greek-themed menu for my brother and future sister-in-law this past weekend. The rich and thick homemade Ouzo-infused tomato sauce, plump jumbo shrimp and crumbled Greek feta makes this dish a standout, with plenty of extra sauce that can be sopped up with thick slices of grilled garlic-rubbed crusty baguette. Simple and absolutely delicious, this dish will definitely be making numerous encore performances this summer.
Jumbo Shrimp Saganaki with Greek Feta & Ouzo
20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined with tail on
2-3 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp dried red chili pepper
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup Greek feta, coarsely crumbled plus additional for garnish
1 tsp dried Greek oregano
3 cups marinara sauce, preferably homemade
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tbsp Ouzo, or to taste
In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high and add the onion, chopped tomatoes and dried chili pepper. Sauté until the onions are soft and the tomatoes are starting to break down, about 5-7 minutes. Add the marinara sauce and dried oregano, and and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce become rich and thick. Arrange the prawns in the sauce and cook until they are opaque and just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the crumbled feta and Ouzo and cook another 2-3 minutes. To serve, spoon the shrimp and sauce into a decorative serving bowl and sprinkle with the remaining feta and garnish with the fresh oregano and Grilled Garlic-Rubbed Bread.
Grilled Garlic-Rubbed Bread
1 loaf crusty French or Italian baguette
2 cloves garlic , peeled and cut in half length-wise
1/4 cup good olive oil
Preheat the oven to 475°F. Cut the bread into 8 diagonal slices about 3/8-inch thick, and place on a baking sheet. Bake until just golden, about 5-8 minutes — watch carefully to make sure they don't get too brown. Remove the bruschetta from the oven, and using the fresh cloves of raw garlic, rub one side of each of the toasts, brush with a little olive oil and serve alongside the Shrimp Saganaki.