Shrimp Saganaki – Sauteed Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Shrimp Saganaki – Sauteed Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

For Greek Week and our amazing Greek inspired food and recipes, I thought we had to have a seafood dish. I knew Denise was not going to touch that so that meant I would have to represent all the Greek folks out there.

In fact, I was going to do a whole fish – head on – and take a nice closeup picture just to watch Denise jump! ~Melissa

But, I’m not Greek. Nor do I have heritage from the area (like Denise does in the ‘general’ vicinity). But, I do live in Atlanta, home of one of the most fantastic Greek restaurants – Kyma.

I was hoping to blow Denise’s dish out of the water by getting some professional help from an old acquaintance but instead, I took my inspiration from their menu with a dish called Prawn Saganaki.

Now, mind you, I’ve never eaten Prawn Saganaki. But, the menu described it as sautéed shrimp with tomatoes and feta and Ouzo, a Greek anise flavored liqueur. I can do that! So off to the store!

This was by far the best shrimp preparation I’ve ever made apart from good old Southern fried shrimp (a heritage I definitely have in my blood). It had such amazing flavor and it really was easy to make, regardless how traditional it might be.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate  (only because it is seafood and people freak on the cooking their own seafood thing and because seafood is easily and often overcooked).
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 20 min

Ingredients for 2 people:

12 large shrimp (I like a lot of shrimp, even big ones! A normal person eating U10 shrimp would probably eat 4, maybe 6. Me, I can eat a couple of dozen on my own!!)

Juice of 2 lemons

2 cups fresh chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup parsley

1/4 cup ouzo

1/2 cup chicken or seafood stock

1 clove garlic, sliced thin

salt and pepper

red pepper to taste

4 oz quality feta

How to make sautéed shrimp with tomatoes and feta:

First, you’ll want to get all the items you need ready because it is not a dish that takes very long to cook.

Dice the tomatoes into a large dice. I used Campari tomatoes and cut into eighths.

Chop the parsley.

Peel the garlic clove and slice really thin. You can dice or mince but I liked it sliced thin. In fact, we’ll add it late in the preparation to get more of the garlic flavor.

Get your spices in ready and set aside

Crumble your feta

Portion out your ouzo and stock and juice your lemons.

Clean your shrimp. I deveined them but left their shells on for flavor. That is the best choice but really up to you. Since I was just serving to my family in an informal setting, peeling shrimp was not a big deal. In a more formal setting or with friends/family who don’t want to get their fingers dirty, peel the shrimp for them. If you take the shells off or buy them with heads on, keep them for the next step. If you decide to keep the shells on, take the shells from a couple of shrimp and follow steps below.

Now we are ready to complete the sautéed shrimp with tomatoes and feta!

 When I cooked this, I had to cook some chicken before I cooked the shrimp for the kiddos. I decided to use the same pan and had some brown bits in the bottom…perfect for deglazing.

If you are not cooking for kids too (or for Denise as a non-seafood lover), take the shells, roll in a couple of tablespoons of flour and sauté them in some oil. Let them get brown but not burned. This will give some flavor to your pan prior to deglazing with the ouzo. When done, discard the shells and move on.

Now, I say deglaze and some of you will freak out. Don’t!! It’s not a big deal.

Remove your skillet from the heat, add the ouzo, return to the heat and be prepared for a flash of fire. You are not adding a lot of alcohol so it will dissipate quickly but it will flash.

Use a wooden spoon and scrape up the brown bits and let the alcohol cook off. When reduced by about half, add the lemon juice, tomatoes and stock.

Shrimp Saganaki - Sauteed shrimp with tomatoes and feta and ouzo

Let cook and reduce for about 5 minutes. Then add 1/2 the parsley and the garlic. Then add some salt, pepper, and red pepper. Taste and add more as desired. My husband likes some heat, so I added more red pepper.

When ready, add the shrimp and let sauté in the sauce for a few minutes. To cook a U10 shrimp over medium high heat will only take about 4-5 minutes a side. Remember, “C” means cooked. “O” means overcooked. When the shrimp cooks and naturally forms the letter C and is more pink, then it is done.  Shrimp are amazing when NOT overcooked.

Sauteed shrimp with tomatoes and feta and ouzo

Crumble the feta on top, add the remaining parsley and serve. DAMN!! it is good!. Enjoy big flavor with this dish.

Sauteed Shrimp with tomato, ouzo, feta and parsley
Shrimp Saganaki over Arborio rice

Important Tips:

Don’t overcook the shrimp!! Add flavor.


Ok, so truth be told, I was in a rush and could not get to a store on a Sunday in the South that sold Ouzo. What did I do? I deglazed the pan with tequila and added about 1/4t of anise seed. It was delicious!

Also, I think this would be FABULOUS with chicken. Just sauté the chicken first, then make the sauce and then return the chicken to the pan. I think it would be perfect.

Meal Ideas:

I topped some basic risotto with the sautéed shrimp and it was a perfect pallet!

Got Leftovers?:

Great cold the next day or you could chop it up and top a nice salad with it!

U10 shrimp? What does that mean? Are they playing a sport or something in the Under 10 league? And you’re right….not for me. I’m always turned off by deveining, peeling and chopping off heads. However, if  you are into that sort of thing, I bet this is delicious!” ~Denise

Clearly you don’t read my posts because in a previous post on shrimp I discussed the size classification used. I read your posts you know….~Melissa

I do read your posts…but this U10 thing really threw me.   Maybe I read it when I was eating hummus from Greece and didn’t remember. ~Denise

Or drinking a bottle of Kim Crawford??? ~Melissa

Nice ~ Denise


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