Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Out of this World Shrimp Saganaki

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. 

Chef is ready for a cooking demonstration.
Celestyal Cruise Chef is ready for a cooking demonstration. 
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. 

A steaming hot pan of Shrimp Saganaki.
A steaming hot pan of Shrimp Saganaki
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. 

A crosini tops a serving of Shrimp saganaki, ready for serving.
The plated dish is ready for serving.
Shrimp Saganaki: Compliments of Celestyal Cruises
 (6 servings)
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 prefrence)
1 T. fresh parsley, chopped and/or fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
Directions: 
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. 
Chef adds onion to the pan to begin saute.
Add onions and saute. 
Add the shrimp, stir well. Add more oil, if needed. 

Chef adds the shrimp.
Chef adds the shrimp.
Deglaze the pan with the dry white wine.
Add ouzo and ignite - if you want to impress your guests.

Sous chef adds the ouzo.
Sous chef adds the ouzo. 

Add the chopped tomato and tomato sauce and simmer a few minutes.

Chef adds the tomato sauce.
Chef adds the tomato sauce. 

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.

Add the feta cheese and stir gently.
Add the feta cheese and stir gently. 

 Do not overcook the shrimp.

The finished pan of Shrimp Saganaki is ready to serve.
The finished pan of Shrimp Saganaki is ready to serve.  
Plate and serve with toasted garlic crostini or garlic bread. 





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