Baked Shrimp, Greek-Style
Provided by Mel & Sheryl London
If you saw this dish in Greece, it would be called “Garides Youvetsaki” or “Shrimp Baked in Clay.” This anise-perfumed shrimp and tomato dish with the briny edge of feta can be prepared in advance and then finished in the oven in just ten minutes of baking time – just long enough to cook some orzo as an accompaniment.
- 1 ½ pounds large shrimp (16/20 per pound)
- 1 – 35 oz. can of Italian plum tomatoes, drained – about 3 cups
- 1 cup Water
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced (about 1 ½ teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons cognac, warmed
- ¼ cup ouzo (Greek anise-flavored liqueur), warmed – or
- Pernod (French anise-flavored liqueur)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Greek
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons nonpareil capers, rinsed
- ¼ pound feta cheese, crumbled
- 15 pitted Kalamata olives
- ½ teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley
Peel and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact if you wish, and reserve the shells. Set the shrimp aside. In a 12 inch non-stick skillet, add the tomatoes, break them up slightly and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium high heat, until reduced to 2 cups. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and set aside.
Add the shrimp shells and water to a two quart saucepan and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Strain and reserve the shrimp stock and discard the shells.
Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp and sauté for one minute. Turn the shrimp over with tongs and pour the warmed cognac and ouzo over the shrimp. Ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol.
Remove the skillet from the heat and add the reserved tomatoes, 1/3 cup of the reserved shrimp stock, oregano, hot pepper flakes and capers. Stir to combine, and transfer to an oiled, shallow baking pan or individual oven-to-table baking dishes. Sprinkle with the feta, olives and crushed fennel seeds.
At this point, you can refrigerate for several hours and when ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.
MEL & SHERYL LONDON are the authors of eleven cookbooks, including “A Seafood Celebration” and “The Fish Lovers” Cookbook.” They are winners of the James Beard Award and the Tastemaker Award and were finalists for the IACP Cookbook Award for “The Gourmet Garage Cookbook.” They have been loyal and loving customers of The Lobster Place since the company first opened its doors in Chelsea Market.