Though it may sound Japanese, the word “saganaki” refers to a small frying pan used in Greek cooking. The most famous of these dishes, simply called saganaki, is a fried cheese, often flamed at the end with a little ouzo.
Shrimp saganaki is one of my favorite Greek dishes, and it usually involves cooking shrimp in a tomato-based sauce with plenty of feta cheese sprinkled in. It’s a simple yet fantastic dish if the ingredients are fresh. Doesn’t hurt to be sitting in a taverna on the beautiful island of Santorini while eating it, either!
I had a slab of Graviera cheese from my most recent trip to Santorini, and decided to recreate shrimp saganaki using that instead of feta. It was pretty damn amazing…
300 g grated Graviera cheese
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes
1 lb (about 24) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 medium onion, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, through a press
pinch red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons Ouzo
salt and pepper
Peel and devein the shrimp. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of a lemon on to the shrimp and toss. Set aside.
In a large pan, saute the onions in the olive oil until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a few seconds more.
Crush or puree tomatoes and add to the pan. Add red pepper flakes, dill and oregano, and salt and pepper. Add Ouzo.
Let this sauce cook down for a bit until all the flavors have blended together.
Pour a layer of the sauce on the bottom of a metal broiler-proof pan. Lay the shrimp in a single layer into the sauce. Cover the shrimp with the rest of the sauce and sprinkle the grated Graviera on top.
Place the pan in the broiler and cook until the cheese is brown and bubbly.