Want to transport your tastebuds to the vibrant shores of Greece? Try this tantalizing recipe for Greek shrimp saganaki. It’s a traditional Mediterranean dish with a whole symphony of flavors.
It combines succulent shrimp, tangy tomatoes, and the richness of feta cheese. It’s a recipe that brings together its ingredients perfectly. (And it’ll leave you craving more!)
This delightful Greek taverna favorite is easy to make at home. Grab your apron, and let’s dive into this flavorful adventure!
It’s time to embark on a culinary journey to the sunny shores of Greece!
What Is Greek Shrimp Saganaki?
Before we talk about Greek shrimp saganaki, let’s discuss saganaki in general. It’s a traditional Greek dish that showcases the incredible versatility of cheese.
The term saganaki refers to a variety of appetizers or entrées typically prepared by frying or grilling cheese.
Kefalograviera is the most commonly used cheese for saganaki. However, you’ll also find saganaki dishes made with feta, halloumi, and other types. Regardless of the specific cheese, saganaki is a delightful and indulgent treat.
Greek shrimp saganaki is an absolutely phenomenal dish for those who enjoy seafood. It’s spicy, flavorful, bright, tangy, and delicious.
It’s a classic Greek recipe you can quickly and easily pull together. It features the typical feta cheese, of course. But there’s also a robust tomato sauce and tender shrimp. Garlic and onions round out the umami-packed flavor profile.
It’s an excellent choice if you want an incredible meal but don’t want to spend a ton of time making it.
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Olive oil. I prefer extra-virgin olive oil for this particular recipe. If all you have on hand is virgin, that’s fine, too.
- Red onion. Saute the onions in the olive oil first before adding anything else. Use fresh onions, and don’t skimp on them. They provide the dish with a ton of flavor.
- Garlic. Garlic is a must-have if you want this dish to be extra-flavorful. Use fresh cloves, sliced thinly. Powdered garlic won’t work as well for this recipe, though you could use frozen cloves in a pinch.
- Tomato paste. Some saganaki recipes call for fresh tomatoes. I prefer tomato paste instead. It’s easy, convenient, and budget-friendly. If you want to use fresh tomatoes, select 8 to 10 large Roma tomatoes.
- White wine. White wine adds a rich but delicate flavor that enhances every bite of this dish.
- Tomato and olive pasta sauce. It’s essential to get this ingredient exactly right. You want tomato and olive pasta sauce, not regular marinara. The briny olive flavor makes all the difference, so don’t use plain tomato pasta sauce.
- Shrimp. You can save time by purchasing shrimp already peeled and deveined. I prefer extra large shrimp for this recipe. If you can’t find shrimp, substitute large prawns instead.
- Greek feta cheese. Find a high-quality block of genuine Greek feta. Don’t use pre-crumbled feta. Trust me on this one. The right feta will give you the richest flavor and the creamiest texture possible.
- Flat-leaf parsley. Adding a parsley garnish provides the dish with a brilliant pop of color. It also adds a fresh, “green” taste that’s hard to resist. (Use fresh parsley only. The dried flakes won’t suffice.)
How to Make Greek Shrimp Saganaki
1. Prepare. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
2. Saute the onions and garlic. Ensure the olive oil is warm and has thoroughly coated the skillet. Then, add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and cook it for another minute until you can smell it cooking.
3. Add the tomatoes and wine. Next, add the tomato paste. Stir it in gently and cook it for about a minute before adding the wine.
Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes until the liquid is about half what it initially was. Then, mix in the pasta sauce. Let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes until it thickens.
4. Assemble the saganaki. Pour the sauce mixture into the bottom of a 6-cup baking dish. Then, layer the shrimp on top of it. Top the whole dish evenly with feta cheese.
5. Bake. Bake the dish for approximately 10 minutes in the preheated oven. When it’s ready, the shrimp should be pink outside and have no transparency inside.
6. Garnish and serve. Remove the dish from the oven and top it with parsley. Serve, and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Shrimp Saganaki
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making this dish:
- Make DIY pasta sauce. As mentioned earlier, the tomato and olive pasta sauce is a must-have for this recipe. If you can’t find any at the store, make your own! You need a jar of marinara sauce, 2 tablespoons of Ouzo, and 2 tablespoons of chopped kalamata olives. Combine all the ingredients together, and voila! You have your sauce!
- Add extra spice. A dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne will dial up the heat factor.
- Substitute Ouzo for white wine. Authentic Greek shrimp saganaki uses Ouzo instead of white wine. I find Ouzo’s flavor a bit too pungent for my taste but give it a try if you want. It’ll give you the most authentic version of this recipe.
- Don’t overcook the shrimp! I can’t stress this enough! Cook the shrimp until they’re pink, and then take them out of the heat! Overcooked shrimp is rubbery and not palatable.
- Don’t remove the shrimp tails. You can if you want to, of course, but I like to leave them on. They provide easy, convenient handles for grabbing the shrimp.
- Add some herbs. Feel free to garnish the shrimp with fresh herbs for more flavor.
Greek shrimp saganaki can act as the main course or a decadent appetizer. What you serve with it will largely depend on how you use it.
You can easily pair it with couscous or rice. Or serve it with some simple green veggies on the side. For more ideas, check out my article, “25 Mediterranean Appetizers!”
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
Like most seafood, this dish doesn’t freeze well. However, you can keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
When you get ready to eat the leftovers, warm them in a skillet over medium heat. Don’t keep them on the heat too long, though, or you’ll ruin the shrimp’s texture. (Remember my tirade about rubbery shrimp?)
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