By Lisl Unterholzner
Shrimp is everyone’s favorite seafood to cook. I say this because shrimp was the main ingredient in most of the seafood dishes submitted for Capture the Coast. Shrimp not only tastes great, there’s not a lot of guesswork when cooking shrimp. When it turns pink, it’s done. Plus, it’s so versatile and can settle into a sauce or shine when simply steamed in the shell.
Shrimp Saganaki, from Capture the Coast, is inspired by the Greek community centered around Tarpon Springs in nearby Pinellas County. Tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs and feta cheese are the key elements of a dish that has many variations. Our version starts with a red pepper and tomato sauce, which can be made ahead and is also great on its own as a simple sauce for pasta. You can serve this recipe in many different ways: as a hot appetizer for a cocktail party, with plenty of crusty bread for dipping, in individual portions for a dinner party, or over pasta or rice as a healthy and light weeknight supper.
Shrimp Saganaki (Capture the Coast, p. 34)
FRESH TOMATO AND RED PEPPER PUREE
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, chopped
3 cups chopped red bell peppers (about 2 large)
2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes on the vine (about 3 medium)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
5 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 (14 ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
For the puree, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft. Add the garlic, bell peppers and tomatoes. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Stir in the salt and balsamic vinegar. Puree in a blender or food processor. Stir in the basil and parsley. The puree may be made up to 1 day in advance.
For the shrimp saganaki, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Position the oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Divide the shrimp and artichoke hearts among six to eight small shallow baking dishes or ramekins or place in a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Top with the puree and sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Place the small baking dishes on a bakig sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and is light brown and the sauce is bubbly. Serve as an appetizer with crusty bread or as a main dish over angel hair pasta or spaghetti. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Bubbly goodness 🙂
A note about timing: depending how large and how deep your baking dish is, and how large your shrimp are, you may have to alter the length of time your shrimp bake. Smaller portions and smaller shrimp will generally cook faster. I used extra-large shrimp, instead of the medium called for in the recipe, and the baking time until they turned pink was about 20 minutes. Just make sure they are pink before you broil the cheese and your dish will be perfectly cooked.