Hardly a dish exists on the honor roll of Greek cuisine with more names than shrimp baked with tomatoes and feta. You hear the dish called garides yiouvetsi and also yiouvetsaki. Sometimes it’s dubbed garides me feta and sometimes garides kokkiyia me feta. Here and there it shows up on menus as garides me saltsa, but equally often as garides me feta saltsa. The proliferation of names gives testimony to one thing: a dish so popular, widespread, and classic certainly must sing with flavor, and it does.
Few cheeses go with shellfish, but sheep’s-milk feta blankets the tender shrimp with a sharp tang the way a wash of lemon juice cannot. The cheese also echoes the sea’s lightly salty bath. The tomatoes create a sauce with zest and body, with carmine hue and vegetable warmth, and a touch of brandy offers a hint of a blazing fire. Serve plenty of crusty bread to sop up the sauce.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ½ medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons Metaxa or other brandy
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pounds medium shrimp (about 42), peeled and deveined
- 8 ounces feta cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. While the oven is heating, heat the oil in a large nonreactive flameproof casserole over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook until slightly wilted, 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they soften, 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the wine, Metaxa, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of the dill, and the pepper. Cook briskly until the tomatoes are collapsing, 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring from time to time, until they begin to turn pink, about 2 minutes.
4. Crumble the cheese in large chunks over the top and place the casserole in the oven. Bake until the cheese has melted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon dill over the top and serve.