Prawn saganaki with feta cheese & ouzo: Quintessentially Greek
Prawn saganaki with feta & ouzo: Quintessentially Greek (Garides Saganaki)
This article is also available in Greek
Bursting with lively colours and intoxicating flavours, this finger licking prawn saganaki recipe is guaranteed to transfer you to a beautiful summer day in Greece.
There, where the sun never stops to shine.
There, where tradition meets mythology.
There, where the endless sea blue becomes one with the sky.
Admittedly, God must have spent a little bit more time in Greece.
The aroma of this tantalising dish never fails to take me back home.. long summer days in the Cyclades underneath the gorgeous Greek sun, strong meltemi winds and never-ending treks to unspoiled azure blue beaches.
Whitewashed houses with bright blue rooftops and windows, dispersed chapel dots and windmills on steep cliffs, crystal clear waters and yellow fishing nets – all that forms part of a typical day on an island in the Cyclades.
And then comes the sunset…
…that turns everything around you into gold.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t come across the term Cyclades before, although I am sure that you must have heard of Mykonos and Santorini!
The Cyclades is a group of Greek islands, in the centre of which prominently lies the sacred and uninhabited island of Delos (thus the name Cyclades – literally meaning circular islands).
Delos, the mythological birthplace of twin Olympian gods Apollo and Artemis, is the focal point of the Cyclades islands and it was actually first inhabited in 3rd millennium BC.
All of these thousands of years of rich history and Olympian mythology have left their dent in these legendary islands and you will never be too far away from ancient sites, shrines and fascinating myths.
According to the Greek mythology, Cyclades were born when the Oceanids nymphs were turned into islands after they provoked and infuriated Poseidon, god of the sea.
It is Serifos where on his way back home from the Trojan War witty Odysseus blinded Polyphemus – the infamous Cyclop who would eat anyone trespassing his cave. And you can see his throne and cave to prove it.
It is the island of Milos where Aphrodite – the goddess of love and beauty – fell in love with the beautiful demi-god Adonis, who got killed by Ares – god of war – under the appearance of a giant boar when he was consumed with jealousy and wrath.
It is Santorini where Euphemus – son of Poseidon – threw a clod of earth into the sea and witnessed the island magically emerging from the water as a haven for his pregnant nymph.
However, to the wide world the Cyclades are best known for their unique natural beauty and rugged landscapes, breath-taking coastlines, distinct and minimal – but oh so charming– architecture and exquisite cuisine.
For the average Greek person prawn saganaki is one of these dishes you enjoy having sitting with your friends by the sea, sipping on a cold glass of ouzo, laughing and playing backgammon while you philosophise and try to find the true meaning of life.
Prawn saganaki is the perfect example of how ouzo’s star anise liquorice-like flavour balances the sharpness and tanginess of feta cheese. Although traditionally served as an appetising dish, you can turn it into a delightful main course by adding in some pasta (suggestion: linguine).
Although saganaki refers to various Greek appetisers, it takes its name from the homonymous two handled heavy frying pan (saganaki or sagani). In that sense you can have a big variety of saganaki dishes, like feta saganaki, mussels saganaki, haloumi saganaki etc..
However prawn saganaki is my favourite and I am sure you will love it!
300g king prawns
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 garlic clove
1 tsp brown sugar
1 cup ouzo
240g tomato tomato puree
handful of cherry tomatoes
handful fresh basil (leaves picked)
freshly ground pepper