Saturday, January 7, 2012

Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp

I know that I periodically say that we need to make more Mediterranean food.  I'm not sure why we don't, but when I am menu planning my default is generally Asian, followed by American.  After that I probably start thinking about Italian.  Those defaults are reflected in our cookbook collection.  We have a ton of Asian cookbooks, a decent number of American and Italian cookbooks, and then a smattering of Indian, seafood, etc.  We don't own a single Mediterranean cookbook (if you don't include Italian as Mediterranean).  I guess I should start looking around for a good Mediterranean cookbook to add to our collection.  If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know.

This recipe was one I found online awhile ago.  I believe it was around the time I posted my last resolution to cook Mediterranean food more often.  What I liked best about the dish was the tomato sauce.  It had good flavor and sweetness from the spices and the onions, but wasn't cloying at all.  I really liked the addition of cinnamon and allspice, which gave the sauce a warmth/richness.  We don't typically use cinnamon and allspice in savory dishes (except for say beef rendang), but this dish might inspire me to do it more often.  What I liked least about the dish was that the shrimp itself didn't pick up a huge amount of flavor from the tomato sace - maybe that's why all of the reviews on Epicurious said to marinate the shrimp first.  Oops.  We didn't have time.  When you had bites of shrimp with the tomato sauce on top it was really nice, but when you just had the shrimp by itself it was kind of boring.  We served the shrimp with salad, warm pita and crusty bread (I ate the pita and Alex ate the crusty bread).  I loved dipping the bread through the tomato sauce, so you are definitely going to want to serve something carb-laden on the side to soak up the sauce.

Recipe after the jump!

Greek-Spiced Baked Shrimp
November 2008

1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot red-pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
Pinch of sugar
1 1/4 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp
1/4 pound feta, crumbled (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped dill
Accompaniments: crusty bread or steamed white rice; a green salad

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Cook onion and garlic in oil with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in spices and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add chopped tomatoes with juice and sugar and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced by about 1/3-1/2 (depending on how thick you want your sauce), about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

Season shrimp with 1/8 teaspoon salt, then stir into tomato sauce. Transfer to a 2-quart shallow baking dish and top with feta. Bake until just cooked through, 18 to 20 minutes. 

Serve sprinkled with dill.

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