My boyfriend and I tried this shrimp appetizer at a local pool hall and couldn't get enough of it.
The shrimp were plump and delicious, served in a unique tomato sauce made with ouzo (an anise-flavored liquor.)
That same week I purchased my first bottle of ouzo and decided to try to recreate the dish at home.
It's fortunate that my first attempt turned out fantastic because, when we went back to the pool hall to compare, they had changed the recipe, and it was nothing like the one we had tried before.
This appetizer is best served with a dark, nutty bread.
Enjoy the shrimp on their own while sopping up all of the good juices with the bread.
Greek Lemon Potatoes
Faki (Lentil Soup)
Greek Salad (Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Kalamata Olives, and Feta Cheese)
1 pound large shrimp or prawns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
a 15 ounce can of tomatoes
1/4 cup ouzo
salt and pepper
a good handful of fresh basil
thick slices of dark, nutty bread
To prepare the shrimp, make a shallow cut lengthwise along the top of each (from the head to the tail).
Remove the vein and peel the shrimp down to the tail, leaving the tail on.
You can actually peel off the entire shell if you want, but I think that leaving the tail on makes the dish more attractive.
Rinse the shrimp and keep cool in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pan.
Add the onion and cook for about 7 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute longer.
Drain the canned tomatoes, reserving the juice in a bowl.
Chop the tomatoes coarsley and add to the pan along with the ouzo and half of the reserved tomato juice.
Cover the pan and simmer 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
If it seems too dry, add more of the reserved tomato juice.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the shrimp to the simmering mixture.
Cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are firm and display a uniform orange color, but are not overcooked.
Cut the basil leaves into thin slivers or tear into small pieces and add to the shrimp during the final minute of cooking.
Serve in small bowls with slices of bread on the side.
Makes 6 servings, about 4 shrimp each