I remember the first time I ever tasted this classic Greek dish. I was traveling through Greece and landed on the island of Corfu. I met other American students there and we sat down in the town square for dinner. I ordered this dish that was redolent with Greek ouzo and had crumbled, melted Greek feta along with a zesty tomato sauce. Everyone at the table was jealous! This was a dish I wouldn’t likely forget. I had to ask for more bread to sop up the tangy juices.
I recently reminisced about that summer trip from so many years ago and decided I would recreate it in my Seriously Simple style. I substituted the ouzo with an easy-to-find dry white wine and used a can of diced tomatoes. Look for large shrimp that have been peeled and deveined, and select Greek feta cheese for the best flavor.
I like the hit of dried oregano (which is stronger than fresh) that brings all the flavors together. If you like a little heat in your sauce sprinkle in some crushed pepper flakes.
This dish comes together quickly, so have everything at the ready; you will want to serve it immediately. Make sure to serve the same wine to drink and have plenty of bread on the side.
Greek Shrimp with Tomato and Feta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 leeks, light green and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried Greek oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup coarsely crumbled Greek or Bulgarian feta cheese
1 1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus mint sprigs for garnish
1. In a large casserole or saute pan heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and saut until softened and lightly browned about 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the wine, tomatoes, oregano and salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.
2. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring a few times, until the mixture becomes sauce-like, about 5 minutes. Add a bit more wine or water if you like a thinner sauce.
3. Stir in the cheese, then the shrimp. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through and the cheese begins to melt, about 3 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with chopped mint. Taste for seasoning. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve immediately from the pan.
Recipe note: Serve plenty of crusty bread on the side.
(Diane Rossen Worthington is an authority on new American cooking. She is the author of 18 cookbooks, including “Seriously Simple Parties,” and a James Beard Award-winning radio show host. You can contact her at www.seriouslysimple.com.)