This recipe originally came from the kitchen of my friend Judy (she’s contributed a number of lovely soups to this blog). Today I bring you Judy’s Shrimp with Feta with some modest adjustments courtesy of my Dad. Shrimp is flash frozen these days and there is no reason to buy “Fresh Shrimp” at a fish counter since it has all been previously frozen. The only thing the folks at the fish counter have done for you is defrosted it (and charged you an arm and a leg for doing it). Defrosting is not a complex activity. You do not need to be a rocket scientist or even know a rocket scientist and you can successfully defrost shrimp all by yourself. Once defrosted the shelf life of your average shrimp is negligible. You might as well buy it frozen, keep it in your freezer and defrost it just before you need it. For me this means I can easily put together a shrimp dinner because I always keep a pound or two of frozen shrimp in my freezer. Make sure you buy a bag that isn’t already cooked. You want RAW shrimp. Frozen already cooked shrimp is generally pretty tough and sometimes seriously miserable. You want to cook shrimp at home quickly so that it is just cooked through. If you do it right it will be tender and sweet, rather than tough and chewy.
Shrimp with Feta (serves 6)
- ¼-½ cup olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 leek, finely sliced, white parts only
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¼ inch slice of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (instructions for this below)
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 small can tomato paste (6 oz) plus 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
- ½ cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley (I must admit, I never use the other parsley)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- salt to taste
- 2 pounds medium shrimp shelled and deveined
- 4-6 ounces feta cheese (I’m partial to Israeli Feta)
- juice of one half lemon
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To be honest, I rarely “peel and seed” tomatoes when the recipe says to do so. My father DOES and this recipe is a mite bit better if you follow my father’s lead and not mine. The easiest way to peel a tomato is to quickly blanche it first. To blanche a tomato bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and leave them in for a minute or two. If your tomatoes are really ripe (most American tomatoes are not) the peel will start to split almost immediately. Using a slotted spoon pull the tomatoes out of the boiling water, allow them to cool briefly, and then pull of the skin. Crappy American tomatoes that look red but aren’t really ripe will take a bit longer in the boiling water before their skins start to loosen. Peel, seed and chop four of the tomatoes. Peel and thinly slice two of the tomatoes. Set all of the tomatoes aside.
Heat ¼ cup oil in a non-reactive pan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, leek and ginger. Cook until translucent (10-12 minutes). Add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the seeded tomatoes, the can of tomato paste, all but one tablespoon of the parsley, the white wine and the pepper. Sauté stirring briskly until the tomatoes are collapsing, about 10 minutes. Simmer another 15 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. Taste and add additional tomato paste or salt if desired.
After the sauce is cooked, heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet until hot. Quickly sear the shrimp until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, the remaining 2 tablespoons tomato paste, and the juice of ½ lemon, stir over high heat 2 more minutes.
Spread the sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9x12x2 inch pan and layer the shrimp on top of the sauce. Top the shrimp with a layer of the two peeled thinly sliced tomatoes. Top the tomatoes with the feta cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt.
Sprinkle the last tablespoon of parsley over the top and serve.
This dish can be served on top of white or brown rice, and if you are married to Mr. Anti-Carb (my husband), it is delicious all on its own.