You can look at February in different ways – either you think it is cold, dank and drab and you are feeling the winter blues; or with your happy face on - spring is coming, the days are getting longer, you might be able to build a snowman and the daffodils and snowdrops are glorious.
Whichever way you look at it – you may need cheering up on a grey miserable evening or may need a little something for supper to put you in the mood for dreaming about a holiday to somewhere beautiful in the Ionian Sea.
The answer to either is – Prawn Saganaki.
Tim, aka Merrow Savouries’ husband/dad/business manager/ crustless finger sandwiches and coronation chicken maker extraordinaire/washer upper and all round ‘you name it he’ll do it’ is apart from everything else - passionate about prawns in any shape or form. The bigger the better. He absolutely devours them.
Saganaki is one of his favourite recipes.
Sagani is actually the name of the small frying pan used in Greece for cooking copious small dishes such as fried cheese (oh yes!) and presenting this dish with prawns. But, perhaps not surprisingly we do not own a sagani pan, so use a normal frying pan and oven proof dish.
As per most households in Merrow, having its own version of a casserole, a roast dinner or spag bol dish - in Greece every household or taverna has its own Saganiki – as long as it contains prawns, tomatoes and feta cheese, you could also add other items.
Here is our version...
To serve 4 as an appetiser to share or 2 as a main meal ---Fry one large chopped red onion and a couple of cloves of grated garlic with a chopped red chilli in olive oil, until softened. Add a small glass of white wine or to be really authentic if you have had a bottle at the back of the cupboard for the past 12 years (moi? No, surely?) a good splash of ouzo. Now add a tin of the best tomatoes and a good pinch of salt and sugar.
Traditionally that is the basis of our dish, but how about making it more wholesome and add a can of drained butterbeans or even sliced peppers or celery with the onions. Fresh tomatoes with a good squirt of passata also work with this dish instead of the tinned.
Now to the big boys – to this rich hot bubbling tomato sauce add 300g of big raw king prawns (or more if you are cooking for Tim!) and let them gently bubble away until pink and cooked. But do not overcook them. No one likes a chewy prawn!
Now tip the mixture into an oven proof dish (or keep in the frying pan if it is oven/grill proof or you do actually own a sagani pan). Crumble about 100g of feta cheese over the tomato prawns, and put under the grill for a few minutes to bubble. You can also use sliced halloumi instead of the feta. Garnish with fresh coriander or dill.
Serve with crusty artisan bread or sourdough to dip into the lovely sauce or even pile onto rice for a main meal.
Sue and Tom
At Merrow Savouries