Greek Shrimp Saganaki is a staple dish in Greek Cuisine. Ask anyone, who has traveled to Greece for the summer holidays and he will know it for sure (if haven’t tasted already!).
It’s seriously tasty, but also pretty simple to make. Traditionally we make it using fresh shrimp, removing only the outer shell, legs, and mustaches. We always leave the head on the shrimp, as it contains all the delicious flavor. Cooking headless shrimp will make the sauce 50% less flavorful. And that’s a fact!
In a professional kitchen, Chefs use the heads of the shrimp to make a broth that they will use later on, in the main dish containing only the cleaned shrimps. So it’s something like a broth. But this is a bit fussy to do when cooking at home and you just want to serve your family a quick dinner, and not feed the crowd of a restaurant.
Remember in my last post where I’ve been telling you how awesome + much more flavorful it is, to use a tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes? Well, now is the best time to use it.
If shrimps go well with tomato sauce, then they go extremely well with fresh tomato sauce. It’s that natural sweetness that exists both in the shrimps and the tomatoes. And when these two bind together the results are truly scrumptious!
So to make this Shrimp Saganaki you need to make half a batch of this 3-ingredient fresh tomato sauce, that will take only about 30 minutes of your time. The rest of the Saganaki dish takes about 15 minutes or so.
How To Clean & Prepare The Shrimps
- With a pair of scissors, cut off the mustaches of the shrimps.
- Pull and remove the small legs that are located on the belly.
- Leaving the top and bottom shell in place, remove the middle pieces of shells. This is done to keep the head and tail in place. If you remove the top and bottom shells these will fall off.
- To remove the little black vain, take a toothpick, and prick the shrimp right under its head. Try and pull out very gently, the starting tip of this vain. Then hold the tip of the vain with your fingers and pull it out carefully. It will all come out in one piece. Just make sure you pull upwards towards the head and very slowly.
- Rinse the shrimps with cold water, drain in a strainer, then season with a little bit of salt and pepper, not too much though because the feta cheese is pretty salty.
How To Make A Greek Shrimp Saganaki
So after you have prepared the fresh tomato sauce, heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, and saute the shrimp for about a minute on each side. Then toss in the minced green bell pepper and a splash of red wine (you may use brandy, or ouzo instead).
Add the sauce and a splash of water if needed and simmer covered, on medium-low heat for about 12 minutes. Then toss in the feta cheese and parsley, and cook for 2-3 minutes more for the cheese to melt nicely into the sauce.
And then, all you have to do is get some crunchy, crusty bread and enjoy!
Shrimp Saganaki (With Fresh Tom. Sauce + Feta Cheese)
- 5 large whole shrimps (No1) fresh or frozen
- ¼ green bell pepper minced
- 80 grams/ 2.8 oz feta cheese coarsely crumbled
- ½ tablespoon parsley chopped
- a splash of white wine (can use brandy or ouzo instead)
- a splash of olive oil
- ½ batch of this 3-ingredient fresh tomato sauce
- Clean and prepare the shrimps. Removing their mustaches, legs, and shells except the top and bottom shell. See text above for thorough instructions.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan over high heat. Add the shrimps and cook for about a minute on each side.
- Stir in the bell pepper and add the splash of wine. Cook for a minute or so for the wine to evaporate.
- Add in the fresh tomato sauce and a splash of water if the sauce is too thickened. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer covered, for about 12 minutes. Flip the shrimps at least once.
- Add the chopped parsley and coarsely crumbled feta cheese. Turn heat to high and cook for 2-3 minutes for the cheese to melt (make sure there are a few chunky pieces left here and there). Serve right away with freshly ground pepper on top.
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