When I think of shrimp, one particular Greek dish comes to mind, and that is Shrimp saganaki, shrimp cooked with tomato sauce, a splash of ouzo and topped with crumbled feta. Tender shrimp, smothered in rich tomato sauce. It is so good. This dish is not only a typical starter or meze it also serves as a main meal during fasting periods in Greece. The Greek Easter fast that lasts 7 weeks, prohibits meat and animal products with the exception of certain seafood. So these 7 weeks seafood in the form of shrimp, octopus or calamari is part of the menu once a week. Now this recipe can be made with or without feta cheese, I included it here but you can easily omit it.
It is fairly easy to make and an impressive dish for guests. This is usually served as a meze/appetizer along with bread for dipping, but I like having it as a main course using it as a sauce for pasta or rice and it pairs well with a green salad. The dish combines protein, good fats, and vegetables in the form of tomatoes.
Ideally, you want to use fresh shrimp, but if you use frozen, make sure they are completly defrosted and dry them well with paper towels as they will be sautéed.
And in case you were wondering, the word saganaki means small pan, and basically dishes made in a small pan are called saganaki, but most likely you have come across this name at a Greek restaurant and it refers to the famous fried cheese (which is made in a saganaki pan).
Shrimp with Tomatoes, Feta and Ouzo- Garides Saganaki
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound medium size shrimp peeled
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup ouzo
- 1 large onion chopped
- 1 small hot pepper sliced
- 2 teaspoons pepper flakes
- 3 medium tomatoes pureed in a food processor or 1 pound canned crushed tomatoes
- 3-4 ounces crumbled feta
- chopped basil
- salt/pepper for taste
- Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté for about 4 minutes, add the garlic and sauté for one more minute. Add the ouzo and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until alcohol has evaporated. Set aside.
- In another pot add the rest of the olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the pepper flakes and hot pepper and sauté 2-3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer until sauce thickens.
- Empty the tomato sauce in the pan with the shrimp and mix gently. Empty the whole mixture in a oven proof casserole or a “saganaki” if you have one.
- Sprinkle with the feta and bake for 15 minutes.
- Serve with chopped basil.
Photo by Elena Paravantes© All Rights Reserved
Hi Elena, just thought I should let you know that I am loving your 30 day recipes. I already had your cookbook but am trying everything you suggest and feeling like I am eating more food than before but am losing weight which I am thrilled about! Could you also give us some information as to what cookware the typical Greek cook would use? I have a desire to declutter my cookware down to just the basics for the Greek Mediterranean diet. Many thanks, Lyn
Thank you LYn and great question! I’ll include it soon!
This Garides Saganaki is one of my favorite dishes!! Need a good octopus recipe if you have one. For the hot pepper, I always use Greek banana peppers ( love the kick so I add a generous amount). Your Mediterranean dishes are all so flavorful and easy to prepare. Grew up eating all these dishes and although I’m all alone, I still follow the Greek Orthodox fastings, and your recipes bring back fond family memories to me!!!
Oh my god, this is amazing! I used white whine (“fresh out of ouzo”), thanks for the suggestion above. Did not have a hot pepper in the house, but the red pepper flakes did just fine. Having with pita.
Thanks for sharing Carla!
Made this tonight for supper. Served it over 1/2 cup of cooked couscous instead of rice. Another winner!!!
Do you know the nutritional values to this recipe?
Might I know what kind of hot pepper you are using? I tried using a habanero pepper and man it packs a punch, I love it that way but I’m unsure whether it’s meant to be habanero and not some other hot pepper.
The habanero would be too hot. A moderate hot pepper works well here.
Can I use something other than Ouzo? Not a fan of licorice flavored anything. What about red wine? I know it will change the flavor but would it work?
Hi Laurie, Yes, you can use white wine.
What would be the best brand of ouzo to buy? Is there a major difference in brands? I am not familiar with the drink. Thank you.
Hi Peggy, Some are a little different than others (stronger in flavor etc.) but you can’t go wrong with the known brands such as Mini, Ouzo 12 or Plomari.
How many people does this recipe serve?
Hi Theresa, It’s an appetizer, so about 4 -5 people.
Unrelated to this post (sorry haha) I was wondering if you’d ever tried a little technique I learned from the internet and adore. You take equal parts self rising flour and greek yogurt, and you knead it until it becomes a dough, adding more flour until its not sticky and using it as a pizza crust. It’s so good and I’m done in 10 minutes, no rest time. The yogurt gives it this yeasty sourdough flavor it’s delicious, You have to try it.
Sounds so easy! Thanks Melissa- Will try it!
I had this for dinner last night, leftovers for tonight. Delicious!
Glad you enjoyed it Maria!
Ouzo in the sauce – interesting! Sounds delicious!
It works well with shrimp!
Are observant Greek Orthodox allowed to eat fish during the fast, on the days when they are allowed to eat other seafood?
This looks delicious. I’ve never seen a little saganaki pan in Greek groceries here, though I admit I haven’t looked for one. I imagine that the smallest paella pans are very similar.
No, fish is not allowed. The only day fish is allowed during the easter fast is on the 25th of March.
Is this dish spicy? I have a finicky family : )