One of the things that I really liked about the Greek restaurants was the many tasty appetizers or mezes (or mezedes) that they served. It was really nice when eating in a group as you could order a few mezes and try some of each. One of the mezes that I liked the most was a seafood saganaki. At first I was not sure what would come as I associated the name Saganaki with the fried cheese dish. Apparently saganaki is also the name of the two handled pan that the dish is made in. The seafood saganaki was shrimp, octopus and mussels cooked in a spicy tomato sauce and covered with feta cheese. With just one bite I knew that I would just have to try making this one at home.
The first decision that I made was to simplify the dish by just using shrimp, which was my favorite part. It was quite easy to find many recipes for shrimp saganaki online and I came up with this one using what I liked from several of them. The shrimp saganaki was really easy to make and it turned out great! The spicy tomato sauce, salty feta cheese and succulent shrimp combo was so good! A lot of the recipes that I found called for ouzo, which is a Greek anise flavored liqueur. Although you do not taste the ouzo in the final product, unless you use a lot of it, it adds that something to the dish that just makes it better. Many of the recipes that I read suggested serving the shrimp saganaki with bread and that was a great call. The sauce was so good that it would practically be a crime not to finish it and having the crusty bread on hand to sop it up was perfect. You could easily serve the shrimp saganaki as a light meal or as an appetizer. I enjoyed my shrimp saganaki with a glass of ouzo.
Garides Saganaki (Shrimp Saganaki)(makes 1 appetizer sized serving)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup tomato (chopped)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 splash ouzo (or mastic liqueur, optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 pound shrimp
1 handful parsley (chopped)
1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the red pepper flakes and garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
4. Add the tomato, oregano and ouzo and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
5. Add the shrimp and simmer for 30 seconds per side.
6. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.
7. Transfer to a baking dish and top with the feta cheese.
8. Bake in a preheated 425F oven until the sauce is bubbly, about 10 minutes.
Note: Shrimp saganaki is also called garithes yiouvetsi or baked prawns.
Tomato and Feta Baked Eggs
Garides Tourkolimano (Greek Shrimp)
Baked Shrimp and Feta Pasta
Shrimp Linguine in a Tomato and White Wine Sauce
Mediterranean Fish Stew
Baked Goat Cheese Marinara
Baked Goat Cheese Salsa
Cod Baked in a Tomato and Feta Sauce
Take a look at Peter's post on shrimp saganaki for another great take on the dish.
Update May 19 2009:
I recently came across a new idea for shrimp saganaki on Greek Food R & R to use masticha liqueur instead of ouzo for a mastic shrimp saganaki. I was able to pick up a bottle of masticha liqueur and some mastic resin and I made the shrimp saganaki again this time with the mastic flavours instead of the ouzo. I am torn as to which version I like best. I think that I will have to make them both again and have a head to head face off. :)