Shrimps with ouzo & feta

This recipe originated in the 1960s when tourism really took off in Corfu, and has a very retro-feel about it. It’s extremely moreish too. The combination of ouzo, a well-flavoured tomato sauce and some feta served with some preferably barbecued prawns is irresistible. A good Friday night dish….

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 600 gr can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp ouzo or Pernod, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1kg large, raw, shell-on prawns
  • A little olive oil, for brushing
  • 175g Greek feta cheese, crumbled
  • A small handful of wild fennel herb, roughly chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Wild fennel herb sprigs, to garnish

Put the olive oil and garlic into a frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. As soon as the garlic begins to sizzle around the edges, add the onion and crushed dried chillies and cook gently until soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes and 2 tablespoons of the ouzo and simmer for 7-10 minutes until thickened slightly. Season well with salt and pepper and keep hot.

You can either barbecue or grill the prawns. If you are using a charcoal barbecue, light it 40 minutes before you want to start cooking. If you are using a gas barbecue or grill, turn it on 10 minutes beforehand.

Peel the prawns, leaving the last tail segment of the shell in place. Put them into a bowl and toss with the remaining ouzo, ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Thread the prawns on to pairs of parallel thin skewers to stop them from spinning around when you come to turn them. Brush them lightly with olive oil and barbecue or grill for 1½ minutes on each side until cooked through.

Stir half of the feta cheese into the tomato sauce with the wild fennel herb and spoon it over the base of 1 large or 4 individual warmed serving dishes. Push the prawns off the skewers onto the top of the sauce and sprinkle with the remaining feta. Garnish with the fennel sprigs and serve hot.

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