Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp cooked in a rich and spicy tomato sauce with ouzo and feta

Shrimp saganaki

 

In Greek cooking there are a whole slew of dishes which are categorized as saganaki.  One of the most popular is cheese saganaki, that meze of fried cheese set aflame with the help of a little ouzo or Metaxa, which causes restaurant patrons to exclaim Opa! in delighted unison.  The term saganaki actually refers to the small, two-handled frying pan in which the food is cooked called a sagani, a derivative of the Turkish word sahan, which means copper dish.  Remember long ago when we told you that Mia Kouppa would also make you smarter?  You’re welcome.

Shrimp saganaki is a truly wonderful dish and can certainly be served as a meal.  But at the same time, spicy, rich, and creamy, this is the type of recipe that conjures up images of friends sitting around a table, sipping on some ouzo, talking, laughing and enjoying a delicious array of mezedes together.  Offered with an assortment of dips and spreads like tzatziki, fava and melitzanosalata, bowls of marinated olives,  and platters of greens such as horta or vlita, shrimp saganaki would be an easy and wonderful addition to the party.

Shrimp saganaki

Helpful hints

Truth is, despite the origin of the name, you don’t actually need a special pan to prepare your saganaki dishes; any frying pan will usually do just fine with most recipes.  Shrimp saganaki for instance just needs a pan large enough to fit all of your ingredients.

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Shrimp saganaki tends to be a spicy dish, hence the chili flakes.  Our version is mildly spicy, and just the way that we like it.  We find that overpowering heat takes away from the subtle flavour of the ouzo and other spices, and upsets the delicate nature of the shrimp.  Plus, some members of our family are a little sensitive to spicy 🙂

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You will need 500 grams of shrimp for this recipe, and we like to use 16 – 20 count; the count refers to the actual size of each shrimp.  Specifically, when we say 16 – 20 count, it means that there are 16 – 20 shrimp per pound; this is an average sized shrimp.  If your count is larger, your shrimp will be smaller.  If your count is smaller, your shrimp will be larger.

Shrimp saganaki

We completely peel the shrimp prior to cooking it for our shrimp saganaki.  Although keeping the shell of the tail on can add flavour, it makes it more difficult to eat.  Besides, the shrimp saganaki has enough flavour with all of the other great ingredients, you really don’t need the tail.  Be sure to also remove the vein of the shrimp as you are preparing if for cooking.  If you would like to see a video of peeling and de-veining shrimp, here is a great one posted by Epicurious.

Shrimp saganaki

Shrimp saganaki

If you will be using frozen shrimp, be sure to defrost them under cold running water or allow them to sit in a bowl of cold water, if you will be using them the same day.  Otherwise, they can defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Never use warm or hot water to defrost your shrimp; this is unnecessary and can potentially lead to a situation where your delicate shrimp gets partially cooked on the surface by the hot water, leading to rubbery shrimp.  Also, the idea or defrosting anything, especially seafood in hot or warm water just seems to us like it’s a potentially risky and unsafe situation.  Better safe than sorry!

Looking for more seafood recipes? See these:

Fried calamari
Orzo with shrimp
Grilled octopus

Shrimp saganaki

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Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

Shrimp cooked in a rich tomato sauce with ouzo and feta
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, meze
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Cooking with ouzo, Mia Kouppa meze, Mia Kouppa recipes, Mia Kouppa saganaki, Mia Kouppa seafood, Saganaki, Shrimp, Shrimp and feta, Shrimp Mia Kouppa, Shrimp saganaki, Shrimp with ouzo
Author: Mia Kouppa

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
  • 10 ounces grape or cherry tomatoes 283 grams
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 500 grams shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 3 tbsp ouzo
  • 3/4 cup Greek feta, crumbled
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skilled over medium heat and saute the onion for 5 minutes until soft and translucent.
  • Add the minced garlic, red pepper strips, cherry tomatoes, chili flakes, oregano and paprika and saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Add the tomato sauce and tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring regularly for 2 - 3 minutes and then add the shrimp to the pan with the ouzo. Stir, cover your skillet, and cook for 5 minutes, on medium-low.
  • Uncover your skillet and sprinkle the crumbled feta onto the shrimp and tomato mixture. Cover again for an additional 3 - 5 minutes, on medium-low. Your feta will not melt, but will be soft.
  • Uncover the skillet and remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

We like to use grape tomatoes in this recipe.  Grape tomatoes are smaller than cherry tomatoes, but either can be used depending upon availability. 
If you are using frozen shrimp for this recipe either defrost them the night before in the refrigerator, or place them in a bowl of cold water for a few hours.  You can also defrost them by running cold water over them for several minutes.
Although keeping the tail on the shrimp can add to the flavour, we prefer to completely peel the shrimp as this makes your saganaki easier to eat.
Be sure to serve shrimp saganaki with plenty of fresh bread, to sop up the sauce.

8 thoughts on “Shrimp saganaki (Γαρίδες σαγανάκι)

  1. I stumbled upon your site the other day while googling how to prepare fava beans and boy O boy am I ever glad.
    I subscribed immediately !!!
    This recipe looks heavenly and I cannot wait to try it !
    Thank you ! 🙂

  2. This looks absolutely gorgeous and I really want to give it a go but I shall need to scale it down as I live alone. You show it as a main course and a meze (it would be great as the latter) but how many servings would these quantities yield as a main? I am thinking four. I can then work it out accordingly.

    I am really loving your site as I adore Greek (and all Eastern Med.) food. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind comment Fergy. We absolutely LOVE this dish. As a main, it would serve 2 quite generously, or 4 small portions per person…but this would be fine with a nice salad as a side and some bread to dip into the sauce. We hope you do give it a try. Let us know if you do!

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