Last week on a hot summer’s day I was browsing for a fresh salad-type dinner and found this Greek Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta. It called for Ouzo, which I confused with Orzo (the rice-shaped pasta), but which is in fact an anise-flavored Greek liquor. Fortunately I noticed the difference while still in the grocery store, and bough Anise-extract to use in my substitution. At dinner time, I was very surprised that it was served piping hot; more like a stew than a salad. I sweated all through dinner. I was good, but not great. Perhaps because my expectations were for cool and refreshing I could only give it 3-1/2 stars.
- First I used smaller shrimp than called for in the recipe. Larger shrimp come at a huge premium, and my little shrimp only cost $5/lb.
- I didn’t want to buy a whole bottle of Greek Anise Liquor, so I substituted 1 teaspoon of Anise-extract for every 1 tablespoon of Ouzo.
- Instead of using two pepper halves of different colors, I used a single green pepper. Certainly the multicolored presentation was one of the things that drew me to this recipe, but I ultimately chose to keep the clutter down in my already overstuffed refrigerator.
P.S. A roving crew from southern New Jersey repaired my power line last night, so I finally have refrigerator just in time for the long weekend. The hardest part of cooking during the post-Irene blackout was my lack of ingredients, because all my “refrigerate after opening” ingredients were in neighbors’ refrigerators.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinnertime: 7:00 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here (requires an e-mail address, but no credit card). My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:
1-1/2 pounds shrimp
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ouzo
5 medium garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated zest
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 small onion
1/2 medium red bell pepper
1/2 medium green bell pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
28-ounce can diced tomato
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
6 ounces feta cheese ,
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
- Peeled and deveine the shrimp, then peel garlic cloves so that they are ready to press.
- Add prepared shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper to a small glass bowl. Press 1 garlic clove directly into the bowl. Gentry mix to combine, then set aside while preparing the sauce.
- Dice a medium onion which should yield about 3/4 of a cup. Remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and cut into a medium dice. Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving 1/3 cup of the juices.
- Preheat a 12″ regular skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes until shimmering. Add diced onion and peppers, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir well, then cover and cook for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally and will be ready when the vegetables have released their moisture.
- Continue to cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes more. Stir occasionally and will be ready when the moisture has cooked off and the vegetables have softened.
- Press remaining 4 garlic cloves directly into skillet; add red pepper flakes; and cook for 1 minute.
- Add drained tomatoes, 1/3 cup tomato juice, 1/4 cup white wine, and the final 2 tablespoons ouzo. Turn up to medium-high heat until simmering, then reduce heat slightly to medium heat. Continue simmering for 7 minutes. Stir occasionally. It will be ready when the sauce has thickened slightly (but is not completely dry).
- Add chopped parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Reduce heat again to medium-low and add shrimp and accumulated juices back to the skillet. Stir to combine, then cook, covered for 6 to 9 minutes until the shrimp are cooked, stirring occasionally. If you are using extra-large shrimp you may need to cook for 7 to 11 minutes. If the simmer becomes too vigorous, reduce heat to maintain a bare simmer. Meanwhile crumble your feta, which should yield about 1-1/2 cups.
- Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.