Eat and Drink
An Easy Greek Seafood Dinner
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Shrimp Saganaki with Paximathia, or Shrimp Dakos
This is my own mash-up version of two Greek dishes I love - shrimp saganaki and Cretan dakos.
Hey, remember when I told you I was kind of a lazy cook who wanted great meals done quickly? Here's proof!
The nice thing about this recipe is that it's very easy, very quick and really, really delicious. Please don't be scandalized that I'm not actually using a "saganaki" for the shrimp - I usually use a wok or deep frying pan.
So, let's talk paximathia.
In English they're called rusks or Cretan toasts, and can come in wheat, barley and rye varieties. Use whatever you like. If you're not lucky enough to have a Greek import store nearby, you can buy them online. There's a company called The Manna that I quite like. Rusks are the base of Cretan dakos, which is basically this dish without the shrimp...a terrific vegetarian option.
If you've never had them before, they may alarm you. They are rock solid. They are like grainy hockey pucks.
I know...you're dying to try them now. Stay with me, because they are wonderful.
The trick to eating them without an emergency visit to the dentist is to soak them in a bit of water for a minute or two (don't leave them too long or they'll get soggy).
Then, plate them and drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on them. You want them to get to the point where they can be separated with a fork. If you find they're still too hard, you can add a bit more water and/or olive oil. In this recipe, the juice from the tomatoes will also help soften them.
As for the shrimp, the hint of ouzo gives a lovely unexpected anise flavor that pairs with it beautifully.
I use frozen, cooked tail-on shrimp for this. The amounts are not set in stone - feel free to add more or less of what you want; this is just a baseline.
(serves 2 as a filling meal or 4 as an appetizer or light supper)
one bag of frozen, cooked shrimp (30-40 count) - (If you rinse them in a colander under lukewarm water or leave them in a bowl of water for 10-15 minutes, they'll start to thaw. Don't thaw them at room temperature as they could cause food borne illness.)
2 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes, or 1 15 oz. can of petite diced tomatoes
2-4 cloves chopped garlic
a couple of generous pinches Simply Greek Fish and Seafood seasoning
olive oil to drizzle on paximathia (to taste), plus more for the pan
a pinch of dried basil
a splash of ouzo - about 2 ounces
feta cheese, 2 small slices or some crumbled
kalamata olives (optional)
1. Heat a generous splash of olive oil in a deep pan on medium heat and add the chopped garlic, cooking a couple of minutes until fragrant.
2. Rinse the mostly-thawed shrimp, pat them dry and add them to the pan, sautéing so they get coated with the garlicky olive oil. They will finish thawing in the pan.
3. While they are cooking, wet down the paximathia, plate them, and drizzle generously with extra virgin olive oil.
4. The shrimp are already cooked and they will reheat quickly, so keep an eye on them and don't overcook.
5. Add a splash of ouzo and stir shrimp.
6. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, stirring everything together.
7. Add the Simply Greek Fish and Seafood seasoning. Stir again.
8. After about 3-4 more minutes, everything should be nice and hot. If not, check back in a couple of minutes.
9. Generously spoon the shrimp/tomato mixture on top of the prepared rusks. Top with a slice of feta or a sprinkle of the crumbled variety, and add a pinch of dried basil on top of the cheese. If you like, you can even toss in a few kalamata olives.
Have you ever created a Greek mash-up recipe? Let us know about it below in the Comments!
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