3.23.2013

21 Inches or 53 Centimeters?

Either way, English or Metric, that is a tall - and potentially hazardous - pile of cooking magazines to keep on one's bedside stand. And that is what I had... until today.

I get Saveur, La Cucina Italiana, Bon Appétit, and Cooks Illustrated each month. (Did I tell you that my niece, Brittany, works for Cooks? Love of food runs in our family!)

We recently stopped our subscription to Food & Wine, and we used to get Fine Cooking, Cooking Light (who was I kidding?) and, of course, Gourmet until its demise.

Addicted to food and food magazines? That's me. Is there a twelve step program (better yet, a twelve step recipe!) out there for people like me?

Most of the recipes from these magazines are available online, but it isn't the same as paging through the magazines monthly, looking at the photos, seeing recipes as part of a menu, reading about their origins... I need that tactile and visual experience; need, I tell you.

But there comes a time to bid them adieu (some of them, anyway). Today was that day. I took them from the bedside, and decided what to keep and what to toss. I save all the Saveur, Cooks, and La Cucina Italiana issues, no questions asked.

With Bon Appétit, when tearing out recipes, I turn right to the R.S.V.P. (Readers' Favorite Restaurant Recipes) section to see what is there, because most often these recipes are not online. I understand that. They are proprietary and worthy of protecting.

Today, before sending them to the recycling bin, I checked R.S.V.P. in each old issue to see which recipes I wanted to save. And that, my friends, brings us to today's recipe: shrimp saganaki - a traditional Greek dish.

Why this particular recipe today? When starting this monumental sorting task, I had just returned from the farmers market with a lovely block of fresh feta cheese from Chiva Risa Ranch, and it inspired me to make the saganaki for lunch today. The original recipe was in the November 2012 issue.

The cheeses from my friends at Chiva Risa are wonderful - fresh and bright, their many varieties are sure to please. I always love their herbes de Provence-coated goat cheese, but recently have been using their feta more.

I recently used their feta along with ricotta in an Otttolenghi recipe called A Very Full Tart which almost overflows with myriad roasted vegetables. Good cheese always makes a difference but, with a dish like today’s saganaki, it really makes the dish. Saganaki is a simple skillet dish with spicy tomato sauce and cheese.

The recipe is adapted from a version made at the Lord Byron Restaurant on the island of Ios. I learned from my friend Magda, at My Little Expat Kitchen that this particular saganaki is called Garides Saganaki, for its shrimp. This is one of those dishes that leaves you wanting more, sopping up every last bit with your crust of bread.

It is the perfect meal for a Sunday afternoon in the garden, surrounded by the multicolored spring wildflowers, the fragrance of citrus blossoms, and the sweet serenades of the goldfinches.

~ David

Garides Saganaki (Shrimp Saganaki)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, preferably Greek, of course

6 scallions, white part only, minced
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup broth - shrimp, vegetable or chicken
2 tablespoons ouzo or Pastis
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Greek oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10-12 extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined
a 4-ounce slice of artisanal feta cheese
crusty bread for serving


Heat oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium head. Sauté scallions for a couple of minutes until soft. Add drained tomatoes and cook down for 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, ouzo and herbs. (If you are cooking on a gas stove, remove the skillet from the flame before adding the alcohol.) Season with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-hit heat for about 5 minutes, or until liquid has mostly evaporated.


Reduce heat to medium. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the skillet, arranging in a circle around the edges. Place slice of feta in the middle of the shrimp ring. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 6 minutes until shrimp are done and feta is warm and soft.


Remove skillet from the heat and set in the center of the table, with some crusty bread at hand for mopping the savory juices.


Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a first course/appetizer.


 

16 comments:

  1. That soft hunk of feta in the middle says it all. And I´d eat it straight from the pan! A few hours ago I went to a new market and bought the most fantastic goat cheeses. Good cheese is a whole different story no matter what you make.
    As for the magazines... I counted 406 a few months ago, and I won´t part with any of them. It´s an obsession. I have some BA and G from 1984. The only thing that stopped me was that they started being hard to find here. And ridiculously expensive. So now I buy them occasionally. The same with cookbooks. Have a great weekend guys!

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  2. I adore feta and I've never seen it used in this way (A big hunk in the middle of a dish), and I love the idea! There's something so delicious about a bright, tangy feta. Yum!

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  3. ... and there is cross over between Gourmet and CI ~ John Willoughby is Editorial Director of Magazines for CI after time spent as an editor at Gourmet. Keep the print editions going !!

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  4. Paula - I am so glad to know I am not alone. I should count my saved issues someday.... I know I have a few from the early days of Gourmet from my mother - real treasures! I am headed to the market in a few minutes to get some more cheese!

    Ahu - you hot the nail on the head! It is the tanginess of feta paired with the sweetness of the shrimp and tomatoes that really makes this dish!

    Thanks, Lori! I didn't realize that about Wiloughby. I am glad some people still like print versions. I even get a few for the iPad but it just isn't the same. If food splatters on the iPad, you simply wipe it up. If it splatters on your magazine, it shows history.

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  5. What a wonderful interpretation of garides saganaki David. It looks beautiful.

    I only buy one food magazine as I prefer to buy cookbooks. I can't believe you subscribe to all those magazines David!

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  6. Hi, I'm Karin and I'm a cookingmagazineaholic....

    I'll soon be purging a LOT of them too - thanks for the handy tip of checking the RSVP column - didn't know those were NOT on epicurious! (and saganaki is one of my FAVORITE dishes to order in our local Uncle Nick's restaurant!) Thanks David!

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  7. 53 centimetres is nothing. I have two piles of Gourmet Traveller that are about 65 cm high. I vowed to go through them on the weekend, tear out any "I want" recipes and put the magazine in the recycle bin. It didn't happen. It's so much easier now that I've subscribed to the digital version of these mags, even though it's nice flicking through actual pages.

    I don't cook with goat feta very often, nor pair it with seafood. Lovely dish, David!

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  8. Magda - that is very high praise from you! I was worried that it wouldn't look right to you! Glad it passes! You know, I keep buying cookbooks, too. I didn't realize it was an either-or situation... I want both!

    Karin - the recipes form RSVP are often from restaurants who generally don't share their recipes. I have been burned by thinking I could find it later on epicurious.com.

    Ah, John... I guess yours is bigger than mine! :) I hope you get a chance to try the saganaki - I think it would be down your alley!

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  9. So funny~I was about to write that the empty skillet says it all" when I saw that Paula had written that the soft hunk of feta says it all! I guess we are both right.

    I recently went through my magazines...it is so hard to give them up! Good for you!

    I look forward to maing this dish!

    xo

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  10. Well, I would have to say you are both right! This is a dish that I know you and Towny would love. So rustic and simple, yet elegant. I can imagine it shared at the table on your back porch.

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  11. Goodness, I'm bookmarking this one for when we have access to fresh shellfish again - sounds lovely. I'm a big fan of Greek food. Also a big fan of people who use 'myriad' correctly in a sentence (I know, I know, such a pedant...) so this post has made me very happy all round!

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  12. I recently had a massive clean out of my magazines (cm and cm and cm of them)and filed all the ones I loved for later. I am so glad you saved this one David - it looks lovely and I am so interested in trying goats feta with the prawns...shrimp...!

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  13. DM - we are lucky to live where we have fresh shellfish from the Sea of Cortez year-round. I must admit, though, these were flash frozen and sold to me by Trader Joe! (Is there an emoticon for "sheepish look?") I can specifically remember using myriad correctly in a sentence in high school, only to have my English teacher correct me. Little snot that I was, I took the dictionary to her to show her the preferential use... Shall we say I was NOT her favorite? Thanks again for the lovely shout-out on your recent post!

    Anna - if I can just get myself to try all the clipped recipes, I know I will find other gems. I will definitely be sharing!

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  14. Yep. I was realating all along then when you said the recipe came from the RSVP section and wasn't available on-line, I thought you weren't going to share it! So, imagine how excited I was to find it at the end of your post. Absolutely the only thing that could make this better is eating it on a Greek Island!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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  15. New Follower!! Love your photos and layout!!! This recipe is so simple and has a great mix of herbs.

    Hope you swing by and follow us as well. =)

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  16. Hello, Mr. & Mrs. P! Thanks for visiting - I spent some time on your blog yesterday and enjoyed it thoroughly! I look forward to getting your posts!

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