Shrimp SaganakiSep 3rd, 2009 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Cheese, Greek, Meze, Recipe, Sauce, Seafood
Today (July 27th) is my nameday. I was named after the patron saint Agios (Saint) Panteleimon.
I was given the name of my father’s uncle who took over as the family’s “father figure” as my dad’s family was left orphaned when his father died at an early age.
My dad’s uncle also took on the title of “Papou” (grandfather) Panteli, as he and his wife Paschalina did not have any children and therefore I was given his name in his honour.
For Greeks, the celebration of one’s nameday is much more significant and feted to a larger extent than one’s birthday. It’s my nameday and I get to eat what I want!
On one’s nameday, it’s tradition that the celebrant treat friends, relatives, guests and today I’m sharing with you one of my favourite Greek mezedes.
So, I feel like Garides (Shrimp) Saganaki. Saganaki is a cooking term that’s used to described many a Greek dish. It goes well beyond just the flaming the cheese dish you see served at Greek restaurants with the usual “OPA” being shouted by the well-scripted waiter.
A “saganaki” is the cooking vessel with two handles, like the one you see my photos. So, there are many saganakis out there with different ingredients and many regional twists on flavours and preferences.
You might also see this dish described as Garides (shrimp) Giouvetsi, where a similar dish of shrimp, tomato base and feta are baked in earthenware vessels. Similar dishes with subtle differences.
Today, you get shrimp saganaki….one of the most beloved of the Greek appetizers (mezedes). Being from northern Greece, we like to some some heat and in Macedonia this dish is usually spicy.
I’ve added mushrooms into the mix. I’ve had Shrimp Saganaki at Toronto’s Pantheon and I really like how well mushrooms and seafood complement each other.
When you take a bite of this meze, you get the sweetness of the shrimp and tomatoes, some heat from the hot peppers, a slight tartness from the Feta.
What you have hear is a shrimp bake with a sweet and chunky tomato sauce, some peppers, oregano, Greek feta and the result is an aromatic, eye pleasing appetizer that was made for bread-dunking, Ouzo sipping and a total disregard for time.
Invite some friends over, prepare an array of small mezedes, break out the Ouzo, the crusty bread and catch up with old friends or make some new ones.
(for one appetizer portion)
6 large whole shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/4 green bell pepper, sliced
1/4 yellow bell pepper, sliced
some diced hot banana pepper
(depending how spicy you like your dish)
1 medium ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup button mushrooms, sliced
half cup Greek feta, coarsely crumbled
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
splash of Ouzo
Grated Mozzarella (or other white cheese)
salt to taste
- In a saucepan, add your olive oil over medium-high heat and add your mushrooms and saute for 2-3 minutes or until they have browned. Now add your onions, peppers and tomatoes and simmer for another 5-7 minutes or until you end up with a nice thick sauce.
- Take off the heat and add your crumbled feta, oregano and Ouzo and stir in. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (if any required) and additional heat (if desired).
- Pour the mixture into an oven-safe baking vessel (like the saganaki) and arrange the shrimp on top. Grate some Mozzarella on top and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp have turned pink and the cheese becomes a golden brown.
- Serve with crusty bread, Greek ouzo and with good company.
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© 2009, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.