We all know how cold and grey winter can be, so why not bring the warm flavours of the Mediterranean into your home. Usually a fried cheese dish here is a much more healthier way to cook it, using the Akis Petretzikis recipe and making some adjustments i’m sure that you will enjoy this dish and so will everyone else too
Prep Time: 15mins
Cook Time: 30mins
Resting/Cooling Time: Eat while it’s hot!!
Serves: 2 or 1 very hungry person
400g-500g King Prawns, deveined (preferable with head and tails intact)
1 Large Onion White or Red, diced (whichever is available)
1 Green Pepper
3 Garlic cloves, finely sliced
2-3 Good sized tomatoes
1 Tsp Sugar
1.5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil (maybe a bit more if you feel you need)
20ml Grape Juice (Infused with 1/2 a Star Anise) or Ouzo if available
2 Star Anise Clove
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 Pinches Chilli flakes (this is to your taste and optional)
200g Greek Feta Cheese (avoid greek style people)
A handful of Thyme (optional)
A handful Basil (sliced finely or chopped)
A handful Oregano (sliced finely or use the dry one)
Salt and Pepper for Seasoning
1. To get started lets pre-heat our oven to 200*C (390*F) Fan, and defreeze the prawns if needed in warm water. Once the oven is on we can crack on with prepping the vegetables, so start by chopping the Pepper (no white part or seeds), Onion and garlic, put these aside for later use.
2. The next step is to grate the tomatoes using the large plate (big holed side) on a grater into a bowl, we do not want the skin so you can discard this, we only want the flesh of the tomato. After being grated stir in a teaspoon of sugar to the tomatoes and leave to rest.
3. Last stage in prepping is to the de-shell and de-vein the King Prawns (shrimp) leaving the heat and tail intact. Once prepped be sure to use a kitchen towel/paper to absorb the excess moisture from the prawns.
Once you have gotten rid of some of the water transfer to a bowl and marinate using the olive oil, thyme and season well.
4. Heat a pan with olive oil and cook the shrimps for a 1 minute, 30 secs each side and then transfer to a kitchen cloth to rest, do not overcook the prawns as we will baking them very soon. Once the prawns are transferred to a plate we can start on the other ingredients.
5. Using the same pan add a bit more olive oil and add the garlic, onion and peppers in you will leave to soften and brown a bit then add in the tomato paste, star anise, chilli flakes and grape juice mix/ouzo. Mix all the ingredients well and add in the tomatoes, once everything starts to boil you can turn off the heat and start putting the sauce into the bottom of your oven proof dish.
6. When assembling the ingredients for the oven we start with the tomato and pepper sauce on the bottom and mix in basil, oregano and half of the feta cheese crumbled in, then place the prawns on top and add basil, oregano and the rest of the feta cheese, sprinkle with a bit of olive oil and put it into the oven for about 20 minutes or when the feta starts to brown and go golden.
7. Serve immediately and enjoy your meal!!!
*You can use spray olive oil if you are on a diet.
*Star Anise is what makes a Saganaki and you will get a great aniseed flavour using the fresh spices, however if you are not a fan of star anise you can half the amount you use or not use it all.
*Ouzo is the traditional alcoholic spirit used in greek cooking, should you be unable to find this you can use pernod or sambuca as alternatives, as i don’t drink alcohol i used grape juice infused with star anise to achieve a non alcoholic substitute.