'Linquini' is optional The riddle solved! 'Shrimp Scorpio' with missing ingredients supplied

In my last column, I published a recipe I found in my mother's handwriting, with cryptic directions and ingredients that were suddenly needed in the sizzling pan with no prior warning. Today I give you that complete recipe.

The Greeks call this Garides Saganaki - Shrimp sautéed in a small frying pan.

Picture the single serving shallow cast iron pans in Greektown, where they serve the flaming cheese, which the mustachioed waiters set on fire while indifferently muttering "Opa!" for the ten thousandth time in their career.

Garides Saganaki are served in the same little pan, which is referred to as a "saganaki."

But you're just as likely to find this recipe called "Shrimp Scorpio," a more tourist-friendly name.

This is not a traditional recipe. According to cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi, it was likely created in the early 60s as tourists began to flood the Greek islands, and tavernas looked for something to serve that was simple, but dramatically presented and delicious.

It has since become a favorite for Greeks and tourists alike.

What I love about this dish is that it's simple (unlike most of the legal briefs I publish in this column, with multiple citations and footnotes). It's also a sure fire crowd pleaser, almost as much so as fireworks, cynical clowns, or pets dressed in costumes. (Well, I guess it depends on your crowd.)

My mother would serve her version over linguini, which she invariably spelled linquini, but I prefer this as an appetizer with crusty bread.

My mother also favored a version including dry mustard and dill, which you can find all over the web, but I like this version, with excellent quality shrimp, ripe tomato, and tangy sheep's milk feta.

Garides Saganaki

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 - 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or 1/4 - 1/2 crushed red pepper flakes

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 lbs. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on

1/2 cup finely diced tomatoes, drained in a colander for 5 minutes

Salt

2/3 cup coarsely grated Feta cheese (If you leave the Feta uncovered in the refrigerator overnight, it will dry a bit and make grating easier)

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 400.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and sauté the onion over medium heat for five minutes, or until soft.

Add the pepper or pepper flakes and the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.

Add the shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes, or until they start to become firm. (Here you can toss in some ouzo or Greek brandy, light it, and shout "Opa!" with all the gusto you can muster.)

Add the tomato and salt to taste and cook for 2 minutes more, or until the sauce begins to thicken.

Transfer to a baking dish or four individual gratin dishes.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.

Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 2-3 minutes more. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

Linquini optional.

Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard and Walker, P.C., a litigation firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment litigation.

He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for "Current" magazine.

He can be reached at: nroumel@nachtlaw.com

Published: Thu, Nov 17, 2011

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