Today I will be jumping back in fasting for Greek Lent. This is the home stretch, “Megali Evdomada” or Holy Week, culminating with a feast like no other on Easter Sunday for Orthodox Christians.
One I say fast, I mean I will be abstaining from any meat or meat by-products until I go to church on Saturday morning to take my Holy Communion.
Fair game are foods devoid of blood, like shrimp, shellfish and cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish, octopus), fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, breads, juices, jams, spices, herbs. I do allow myself olive oil as well but it is not allowed in the strictest sense. I think I’ll be forgiven for this one weakness.
Through the course of the week, I’ll share some Lent-friendly dishes with you, a window on what I’ll be eating through the course of Holy Week.
To kick things off, here’s a dish that uses Mastiha liqueur, as I had introduced to you in my most previous post. Mastiha liqueur is made from a resin (sap) drawn from trees on the southernmost part of the island of Chios.
This recipe is a riff on one I found from a Greek cooking show called the Nistiko Arkoudi (Hungry Bear). The date on the taping of this episode was Februrary 12th of this year – so it’s been kicking around for a couple months.
I loved the idea of using Mastiha with shrimp and thought to be an interesting twist on the usual Ouzo which gets all the attention! I pretty much followed the recipe with the exceptions of reducing the amount of liqueur used (1 cup is crazy sweet) and I added a few splashes of hot sauce in to the mix.
Upon tasting fast, easy, spectaular and easy dish, a Greek (or non-Greek) might even think this dish to be Asian in flavours…seriosuly!
The combo of the shrimp flavour, liqueuer, ground Mastiha, fresh lemon juice and hot sauce make this an exotic meze/appetizer for sure!
Before I get to the recipe, I must explain that ground mastic can be achieved in three ways:
- You buy the mastic in ground form;
- You may grind it with your mortar & pestle;
- Place your mastic “tears” in plastic cling wrap and use your rolling pin to crush the crystals into a powder form.
Shrimp With Mastiha
1 lb of large, head-on shrimp
1/3 cup olive oil
2 scallions, chopped and divided in half
1 shot ofÂ Skinos Mastiha Liqueur
1/2 tsp. of ground Mastic
the juice of 1 fresh lemon
salt and pepperto taste
a few splashes of hot sauce
- Season your shrimp with salt and pepper. Pre-heat a large skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat. Add your shrimp and saute until they are just turning pink.
- Add half of your chopped scallions, the Skinos liqueur and reduce to medium and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add your your ground Mastic and lemon juice and allow the sauce to come up to a simmer again. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, add a few splashes if hot sauce and serve immediately.
- Serve on a platter and garnish with the remaining chopped scallions.
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