I tasted this tomato-less version of saganaki in Chalkidiki, in northern Greece, many years ago. It was prepared with the local mussels which were wonderful. But in my kitchen in Athens, as i was trying the recipe, I had to use frozen mussels since fresh ones were not redly available then, and the result wasn’t great. I decided to substitute shrimp for the mussels and i loved the dish, so i included it in my first book The Foods of Greece (Stewart Tabori and Chang,1993).
In my original recipe I gave the option of mussels or shrimp, but over the years I have decided that the shrimp’s sweetness is perfectly balanced with the lemony sauce, the herbs and the briny feta. It is a matter of taste, of course, but i definitely prefer shrimp for the saganaki. Don’t forget to serve it with fresh, crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce.
- 1 kilo medium (#5) shrimp
- 1/3 cup (70ml) olive oil
- 6 scallions white plus most of the green part, coarsely chopped
- 1cup (250ml) dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 bunch of rocket (arugula) coarsely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1/2 cup shrimp stock (from the shrimp shells, see below), or more as needed
- 1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste.
Wash, peel and devein the shrimp, keeping the tail on. Drain and refrigerate until needed. Place the shells in a saucepan, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the stock. In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onions for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and toss for 1 minute, add the wine and mustard, and stir briefly to mix. Add the parsley and arugula, 1/2 cup stock and the lemon juice, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are done, adding a little more stock if needed. Add the feta, sprinkle with the dill and with a little salt—feta is usually salty enough. Add freshly ground pepper, but don’t stir, just shake the pan to distribute the ingredients evenly. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature with crusty bread to sop up the delicious sauce.
Recipe by Anglaia Kremezi
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