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  • Margaret Pahos

Prawn Saganaki with Rice


This Prawn Saganaki with Rice recipe is very simple, very easy, fast and delicious to make. It may not be the way you have cooked it before but I found my family loving this version and I loved how quickly I was able to get dinner onto the table.


What isn’t there to love about a dish that has juicy prawns, creamy feta and sweet tomatoes? It screams Greek Islands! And I am completely aware that Prawn Saganaki is usually served with crusty bread and yes it is so good to use that bread like a spoon to scoop up the sauce HOWEVER my kids love rice with it too. It turns it into a complete meal and I am sure once you try it, you will agree. It takes it from a summer dish to an all year round recipe. How good would this be on a cold wintery night as well, right?


Want to know a little interesting fact? First time I ate Prawn Saganaki was over the age of 18 years and for a Greek girl that sure is unusual, right? My mum never cooked it and I realised why when I read somewhere that in old Greek recipes the combination of cheese and seafood was unthinkable and to this day my mother still sticks to the rule to never mix seafood with dairy.


Changes to Greek cuisine were made in the sixties which was a decade with a lot of changes in not only Greece but the entire world and it was then that this new recipe was created. During the sixties the Greeks decided to combine traditional ingredients with modern cooking methods. One of these methods was the combination of prawns, feta and tomatoes which created the Prawn Saganaki! I say thank goodness for the 60s! LOL



How does it all come together?


· I would suggest preparing the rice to begin with. It takes around 20 minutes from start to finish but you don’t need to hover over it. Once the rice starts to boil and absorb most of the water, then cover it and turn off the heat. The steam will finish off the cooking process. Do not lift the lid. You do not want to lose that steam!


· It is at this time that your prawns and other ingredients should be ready for you to begin. The prawn saganaki won’t take longer than 10 minutes to cook and by that time the rice will be ready too.


· Once everything is cooked then serve immediately. This dish is delicious warm.


Tips:


· Fresh prawns are best however I always love to keep handy in my freezer a packet of green peeled and deveined prawns (tails intact). The prawns are frozen immediately once caught and are like fresh. Just make sure you look at the ingredients and where the prawns are sourced from. You want local if possible and the ingredient to be only the prawns and salt.


Serves 4 adults


First begin by cooking the Rice:

1 ½ cups basmati (or long grain) rice

4 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp sea salt


1. Rinse the rice by placing it in a fine mesh strainer and run cool water over it. Allow to drip for a minute.

2. Place EVOO into a deep pot along with the rice and over a high heat toast the rice for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously.

3. Have the boiling water ready and carefully add it to the pot. Season with salt.

4. Reduce heat and allow to boil until most of the water has been absorbed (about 80% of water has absorbed) and then cover with pot lid, turn off heat and allow to continue to cook while steaming. You will know the rice is ready when the tiny steam holes appear on the surface of the rice, however do not lift the lid as the steam will escape and the rice will not cook properly. In the meantime, prepare the prawn saganaki.

Note: I suggest you use a pot with a glass lid.


Prawn Saganaki:

1kg uncooked prawns, tail in tack

3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

400g diced tomatoes, fresh or canned

1 lemon: rind for zest and juice for drizzling

¼ cup fresh mint leaves, chopped

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp dried Greek oregano

½ tsp sweet paprika

100ml white wine

200g feta, crumbled

Sea salt

Pepper

Optional: chilli flakes


1. Heat oil in large and wide base pot, add prawns and garlic and cook over high heat until prawns start to change in colour.

2. Add wine, tomatoes, seasoning and herbs (optional chilli flakes) and cook for 3 minutes.

3. Add lemon zest, and crumbled feta over the top and cover with lid. Reduce heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes.

4. Turn heat off sprinkle with any remaining herbs to garnish, drizzle with lemon juice and some extra virgin olive oil.

5. Serve with rice or optional crusty bread and marinated olives.