Monday, March 28, 2011

Roasted Shrimp With Feta & A Greek Salad

Do you ever get so sick of the same old go-to recipes you make? I was feeling that way last week. I was in search of a new meal that would excite my taste buds and the person I was cooking for. I wanted something easy, fun, casual, interactive, pretty to look at, rustic and of course delicious. With all that in mind I skimmed all of my cookbooks with hope that I would come across something that had a couple of those characteristics. I found the exact kind of dish I was looking for in Ina Garten's cookbook "How Easy Is That"? Ina's recipes never seem to disappoint me!
What I love about this dish is you can assemble it early in the day and throw it in the oven before dinner. It has a Greek combination of tomatoes, garlic, oregano, wine and feta. It sounds like strong ingredients but they do not over the power the dish and rather enhance the flavor of the shrimp. I used peeled shrimp but left the tails on to give it a more rustic look. This is the perfect meal if you want to entertain a group of 4 people. Not only does it look beautiful but it tastes ridiculously good and it is so easy! At the Adams Avenue Farmers Market I found a vendor who had mini loaves of parbaked ciabatta bread. They were 90% cooked so all I had to do was throw them in a 400 degrees oven for 10 minutes, and serve them hot. They are the perfect edible utensil to soak up all the delicious sauce with.

I also wanted something green to go with the main course. I decided to make a Greek Salad which consisted of arugula lettuce, hothouse cucumber, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, grape tomatoes, red onion, kalamata olives, and marinated white beans from Wholefoods Market. I left the feta cheese out of the salad because the shrimp dish has plenty of feta, but if you make this salad by itself add feta. It is so great and this salad dressing might be my new favorite!
Greek Salad Dressing

1/4 cup good red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried oregano crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup good olive oil
Whisk together the first 5 ingredients and slowly poor in the olive oil whisking constantly to create an emulsion.
Toss the salad with dressing and set aside for 15 minutes to soak up the flavors.
Roasted Shrimp With Feta
4 tablespoons good olive oil, divided
1 1/2 cups medium-diced fennel
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon Pernod (I left this out)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 (16-20 per pound) peeled shrimp with tails on
5 ounces good feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (I didn't use all of the bread crumb mixture)
3 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-12 inch heavy oven-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add the fennel and saute for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. Add the tomatoes with liquid, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes.Arrange the shrimp, tails up, in one layer over the tomato mixture in the skillet. Scatter the feta evenly over the shrimp. In a small owl, combine the bread crumbs, parsley, and lemon zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle over the shrimp.Bake for 15 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the shrimp. Serve hot with the remaining lemon cut into wedges. How beautiful is this meal? Using a spoon just scoop some on your plate and I promise it will blow you and your guests away.Enjoy!

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