Sunday, January 29, 2012

Prawns Saganaki

I cleaned our oven today - what a workout. With my daddy long legs in the way, I couldn't see if I was doing a decent job of cleaning the back corners and had to bend into weird shapes that my yoga repertoire does not include. Seriously, I need a midget (sorry the politically correct term is vertically challenged person) as a slave to do this shit. Perfect size to fit through the oven door and clean to his heart's content. Yes it's a he, a female midget would freak me out too much. He would also sleep under our bed. Again, perfect size. This, or a monkey that smokes cigars. I still can't decide.

So during all that cleaning and profuse sweating, I had time to think. I was inspired by one of my readers Liz, who asked for the original Le Cordon Bleu Banana Bread recipe. She made me realise that sometimes you simply can't go past the original. Substitutes more than often will not do, when the original is the best.

So it is in this spirit, that I share my original Prawns Saganaki recipe I came up with today. I had farm fresh buffalo tomatoes (thanks mum!) all the way from Adelaide to use up and a hankering for seafood. Boom, hunger plus fridge contents equals inspiration.

Before I go on, I didn't even know what saganaki means. Shame on me (for a Greek). So I googled that crap. Saganaki is a small round pan with two handles, used to cook and then serve the food in. I don't have one (yet) so I used my Lodge cast iron frying pan (one of my favourite utensils at the moment) which has two handles. Problem solved, I'm a genius.

Prawns Saganaki
5 mins prep time, 10 mins cooking time, serve immediately

olive oil
2 extremely ripe buffalo (extra large) tomatoes // or 1 cup tomato puree
splash white wine
350-400 g banana prawns
2 garlic cloves
handful fresh basil and parsley, chopped
feta cheese
fresh sea salt
fresh black pepper
toasted sourdough for serving
  1. If you're using fresh tomatoes, puree these in the blender and set aside. 
  2. Don't be a pussy, tear the antenna off the prawns and if preferred the legs too; but ensure to leave the heads and tails on as these will be the tastiest bits. Set the prawns aside.
  3. Smash the garlic cloves using the side of a knife, using enough force so the skin comes off and they start breaking into pieces and the garlic juice oozes out. Set aside. 
  4. Heat the pan, add olive oil, then tomato puree. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the water content of the tomatoes starts to evaporate. Add freshly ground sea salt, not too much as the feta is salty too, and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  5. Add the prawns ensuring they are placed flat in the pan with the sauce cooking between them for about 2 minutes. Once the sauce is thickening and looking a tad dry, splash in the white wine, then add the smashed garlic.
  6. Turn the prawns over to the other side. Cook for another 2 or so until cooked. Turn the heat off.
  7. Sprinkle the fresh herbs and crumble the feta cheese over the top.
  8. Shove the toasted sourdough slices on the side of the pan and bon appetit!
  • My mother in-law gave me the best tip about using garlic in cooking - always add it towards the end of the meal, so it doesn't burn but instead the fresh garlic flavour and fragrance is retained. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
  • The softer the feta, the more it will melt and it won't need cooking. I like using Danish feta for this reason.
  • You can also sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the prawns at the end.
  • You might need a bib, these puppies are finger licking good and get messy. I thoroughly enjoyed sucking the prawn tails and heads, so tasty....oh mama. 
  • You can pretend you're Greek and use the bread to gather and soak up the tomato sauce goodness and clean the pan in the meantime. Licking your plate is also allowed. Do it, it's fun!
  • Perfect summer's treat with a glass of chilled white vino!

    1 comment:

    1. If we had started to talk a while back about cooking, I would have told you the garlic tip ages ago! It's good that you're a housewife now, we get more time to exchange!

      And while we're at it, I'll tell you another tip that a few Greeks use here: add the olive oil towards the end too. This means that you saute your onions/prawns in water so the olive oil doesn't burn either (unless I guess you keep it at low temps the whole time)...then add the olive oil once it's all done. Let me know when you try it.

      Love your new you! Tx