From America's Test Kitchen Season 11: Shrimp in a Skillet
We can think of few examples where the unlikely combination of seafood and cheese marry as well as in Greece’s shrimp saganaki. In this dish, sweet, briny shrimp are covered with a garlic-and-herb accented tomato sauce and topped with crumbles of creamy, salty feta cheese. Ordering this dish at a restaurant, however, can be a gamble. The shrimp can be tough and rubbery, the tomato sauce can turn out dull or overwhelming, and the feta lackluster. We set out to develop a foolproof version of this dish—one that is perfectly cooked and captures the bold and exuberant essence of Greek cuisine.
We started with the tomato sauce. Canned diced tomatoes along with sautéed onion and garlic provided our base. Dry white wine added acidity. Ouzo, the slightly sweet anise-flavored Greek liqueur, added welcome complexity when we simmered it in the sauce.
While the shrimp are typically layered with the tomato sauce and feta and baked, we found this method lacking. Since this should be a quick and easy dish, we opted to cook the shrimp right in the sauce; adding the shrimp raw to the sauce helped infuse them with the sauce’s bright flavor. And for even more flavor, we marinated the shrimp with olive oil, ouzo, garlic, and lemon zest first while we made the sauce. Final touches included a generous sprinkling of feta over the sauced shrimp as well as a scattering of chopped fresh dill.
Serves 4 to 6
This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. If you don’t have ouzo, see “No Ouzo?” (below) for suggested alternatives. Our preferred brand of canned diced tomatoes is Hunt’s, and our preferred brand of feta cheese is Mt. Vikos Traditional. Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.