Shrimp Saganaki

I must say unequivocally that this is one of our favorite shrimp dishes ever.  I mean, it’s so easy to love shrimp, but this sauce is so flavorful and so delicious that there’s no doubt who’s the star here. 

This particular recipe has evolved from several sources over several years.  My first encounter with shrimp saganaki was a few years back when I saw Michael Symon pull this out of the oven for a guest, and I was transfixed.  Was it really possible that so many of my favorite flavors could be in one beautiful dish?  The recipe was never published, but I went on a scouting mission and was able to figure out the skeleton of the recipe.  Michael Symon’s dish had a tomato-based sauce, but I found another version on Peter Kalofagas’ website that included sweet peppers, and that got me excited. 

So, after a few additions and subtractions, this is decidedly our favorite version, and we're truly quite enamored of it.  It’s a cinch to put together, and I love that it can all be assembled early in the day and then baked off at the last minute.   If you have some small gratin dishes, this is wonderful to serve individually as a first course, but you can also use a larger pan or braiser and serve it as a main course. 

However you serve it, you MUST have some very fresh, crusty bread, because you are going to want to sop up every last bit of this sauce.

Shrimp Saganaki

For a printable recipe, click here

Serves 2 (as a main course)
12  large shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail on)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 small red onion, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 yellow (or red) bell pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (depending how spicy you like your dish)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, sliced
2 medium ripe tomatoes, diced (about 1 cup or so)
1/2 cup Greek feta, coarsely crumbled (plus a little more for the top)
1 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1 cup marinara (or tomato) sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
splash of Ouzo*
salt to taste
crusty bread for serving

In a medium skillet, heat your olive oil over medium-high heat and then add your onions, peppers, tomatoes, olives, and dried oregano.  Saute until the onions are soft and the tomatoes are starting to break down, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the tomato sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until you end up with a nice thick sauce.

Stir in the crumbled feta and the Ouzo. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt (if required) and additional crushed red pepper if desired and arrange the shrimp on top. Sprinkle the remaining feta cheese on top and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.  Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and serve with crusty bread, Greek ouzo and good company.

*If you don’t have access to Ouzo, which is a licorice–y Greek liqueur, just add about 1/4 tsp of ground fennel to the sauce and then replace the Ouzo with Vodka or you can just leave it out altogether.