Garides Saganaki

I have reminisced about my time in Greece, and the country’s amazing cuisine, before. As my own summer now gets more and more ruthless, my thoughts turn to that long ago summer in Athens. Running around to and from meetings in the heat and traffic of the city (in a suit no less!), catching a gyro-lunch on the fly or sitting down to a fresh salad in the shade, dreaming of the islands that we would visit during the weekend.

There is less running around to meetings now, but I am still working in the summer’s remorseless heat (as only summer heat in a city can be), clacking away at my computer while sweat drips down my back. I still have to deal with a city’s staggering traffic. And I still dream of the islands I’m going to visit during the weekend (not every weekend, but on a certain weekend next month I’m off!).

The only thing missing is the food. With only three restaurants in the city and surrounds devoted to Greek cuisine (and of course, for some, we can’t even say solely to Greek cuisine as the occasional Filipino-fusioned dish will make an appearance on the menu), I don’t exactly have a plethora of choices. Well, that stops now.

Garides saganaki is a dish made of shrimp (garides), tomato sauce, and cheese (saganaki). You can find it in all over Greece in countless restaurants and ouzerie’s. You can even find it in the aforementioned three Greek restaurants here. And now you can find it on my table. Bliss.

Garides Saganaki
(my own patchwork of a recipe adapted from various recipes)
  • 500-600 grams prawns, peeled and deveined, head and tail intact
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 7-8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-2 small dried chilis
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 400-gram can chopped tomatoes
  • 170 grams feta cheese
  • 2-3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

- Drizzle lemon juice over prepped prawns and set aside.
- Heat some olive oil in a pan. Toss in the garlic and onions, and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add dried oregano (crushing between your fingers as you do) and chilis, and sauté until the fragrance wafts up.
- Add fresh tomatoes and sauté until soft, and then toss in the canned tomatoes
- Let this simmer, covered, to allow flavors to develop, about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Add prawns and cover. Simmer until prawns are cooked, turning pinky-orange. Check after 5 minutes because this shouldn’t take too long and you don't want to overcooked them.
- Crumble feta in (reserving a few bits for topping) and add parsley. Stir through then remove from heat.
- Transfer everything to a baking dish, top with remaining feta, and place under a preheated grill until feta is toasty.
- Serves 2-3.

I decided to use prawns instead of shrimps to take this from meze to main course. The combination of the prawns, tomato, and feta, embraced by the oregano, chili, and garlic is a stellar mix. It’s also one of C’s favorite Greek dishes, so all the more reason to have it on our menu!

Greek food at home! Sweet liberation…hooray!

There are more Greek dishes I want to try…including my favorite. But that is a recipe for another post…

To all the Manilenyos out there…keep cool!