Tag Archives: pescatarian

Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

Local tomatoes are king this time of year so we try to use them in a variety of ways almost everyday during the season. Here’s a simple summer tomato salad recipe that makes the most of—and uses up—some of the tomato bounty from your garden or local farm market.

America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) discovered that salting the tomatoes before mixing them into the salad brings out their juices, which make a great base for the dressing. Another discovery was there’s no need to peel homegrown tomatoes for a tomato salad recipe, because their skins are usually thin and unobtrusive.

The amounts of the ingredients are subjective to your own preferences. If you prefer tuna packed in oil, go ahead and use it; in fact, save the drained oil from the tuna and use it instead of, or with, the remaining olive oil. No blanching or cooking needed here!

The olives, red onions and capers are boldly flavored Mediterranean standbys, typically a healthy diet to follow. It’s a great option to bring on a picnic or to enjoy lunch at your community pool.

While we are on the subject of great tomato recipes, I have to give a shout out to the Heirloom Tomato Tart (shown above) that I blogged about 4 years ago. If you are also interested in that recipe just click on the link. The tomato salad recipe is below.

Tomato Salad with Tuna, Capers, and Black Olives

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs. vine-ripened tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. capers, chopped
  • 12 large black olives, such as Kalamata or other brine-cured variety, pitted and chopped
  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 6-oz. can solid white tuna in water, or oil-packed if preferred

Directions

  1. Core and halve tomatoes, then cut each half into 1/2″ thick wedges. Toss wedges with salt in large bowl; let rest until small pool of liquid accumulates, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk oil, lemon juice, capers, olives, onion, parsley, and pepper to taste in small bowl. Pour mixture over tomatoes and accumulated liquid; toss to coat. Set aside to blend flavors, about 5 minutes.
  3. Crumble tuna over tomatoes; toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve immediately.

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Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

This light, delicate weeknight curry comes together in less than 30 minutes and is defined by its deep miso flavor. Miso is typically whisked into soups toward the end of the recipe, but sweating it directly in the pot with ginger, garlic and a little oil early on helps the paste caramelize, intensifying its earthy sweetness.

Unfortunately, I misread the instructions and didn’t add the miso until after the coconut milk had been boiling for several minutes, missing out on the nice caramelization—mea culpa. While the overall flavor is on the mild side, adding a tablespoon of red Thai curry paste at the same time as introducing the miso to the pot, will provide a more pronounced touch of heat and deepen the overall color.

Adding coconut milk creates a rich broth that works with a wide range of seafood. Salmon is used here, but flaky white fish, shrimp or scallops would all benefit from this quick poaching method. A squeeze of lime and a flurry of fresh herbs keep this curry bright and citrusy. For a hit of heat, garnish with sliced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile peppers.

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. safflower or canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup white miso
  • ½ cup unsweetened, full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2-lb. salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 oz. baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  •  Steamed rice, such as jasmine or basmati, for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion, ginger and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add miso and cook, stirring frequently, until miso is lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in salmon, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in spinach and lime juice.
  5. Divide rice among bowls. Top with salmon curry, basil and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top.

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Adapted from a recipe by Kay Chun for NYTimes Cooking

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

Based on a classic Mexican fish dish pescado en salsa poblano, or fish in poblano sauce, this recipe is a shrimp version. To make the creamy, vibrantly hued sauce that cloaks plump, gently cooked shrimp, poblano chilies, with their earthy flavor and moderate heat, are puréed with cilantro, alliums and Mexican crema, a rich cultured cream similar to, but milder than sour cream.

If crema isn’t available—and it wasn’t for us—sour cream works in its place. To make a more substantial meal, serve with warmed tortillas and rice and beans; over steamed rice; or as in our case, polenta cooked in shrimp stock.

Don’t be afraid to use the cilantro stems. Unlike parsley, cilantro has stems that are tender and will readily break down in the blender.

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 medium poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tTbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
  • 3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream

Directions

  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the garlic, onion, ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  2. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender; reserve the skillet. To the blender, add the cilantro, crema and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the puree into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
  4. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced onion; serve with lime wedges.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce

This pescatarian-friendly twist on chicken piccata is an easy, go-to meal for anyone looking to save on time without sacrificing flavor. It’s such a quick and easy dinner to throw together, but the ingredients bring on BIG flavor.

Serve this with some simple pasta, risotto, polenta, or even just roasted vegetables. It goes with virtually anything and you can whip it up in under 30 minutes. We enjoyed it with steamed broccolini (which also benefited from the caper-lemon sauce), and a side salad.

With only two of us for dinner, we halved a one-pound piece of salmon providing each of us an eight ounce serving. It was sooo good, we cleaned our plates in no time!

Salmon with Lemon Caper Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Four 5- to 6-oz. skinless wild salmon fillets
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth or clam juice
  • 3 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, about 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. capers, drained
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest, about 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped Italian parsley

Directions

  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Dry the salmon fillets well with paper towel and season evenly with 1 teaspoon salt.
  2. Add the oil to the pan and heat an additional 30 seconds. Add the fillets to the pan, flesh-side down, and cook undisturbed until deep golden brown, about 4 minutes. The fish should look cooked up the sides of the fillets.
  3. Carefully flip the fish and cook an additional minute or until a thin metal skewer inserted in the thickest part comes out warm when touched to your bottom lip. Using a slotted spatula, remove the fish to a plate to rest.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat and add the shallot and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, adding more oil if needed. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and soft, about 1 minute.
  5. Add the vegetable/chicken broth, lemon juice, capers and lemon zest. Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Whisk in the butter and mustard until smooth and combined.
  6. Stir in the parsley and spoon the sauce over the salmon.

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Adapted from a recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis

Baked Salmon with Vegetables and Feta

This one-pan dinner is ready in no time, and you’ll love the bold Greek vibes in this dish. A perfect weeknight meal, this easy, “fancy” salmon recipe with vegetables and feta is brimming with healthy ingredients and enlivened Mediterranean flavors.

A couple of suggestions so that your salmon won’t dry out. Bring the fish closer to room temperature before baking. About 15 minutes before you start cooking, set the salmon on the counter to get it as close to room temperature as possible. Allowing the salmon fillets to return to room temperature helps them cook more evenly.

And, cover with foil to bake. Covering the pan with foil will trap the moisture and help cook the fish so that it is perfectly tender, moist, and flaky. Here, you’ll also par-cook the vegetables briefly before adding the salmon in.

The original recipe indicated to first cook the vegetables for 5-10 minutes before adding the salmon. We did not feel they were ready at that point and cooked them an additional 5 minutes, totaling 15 altogether. Since our fish was one slab, we let it sit out for 30 minutes to come to room temperature. Plus, due to the size and thickness, it took double the time at 20 minutes to cook to medium, 130°F after adding it atop the vegetables, covered with foil.

So we had to bide our time a little longer, but it was sooo worth the wait!

Baked Salmon with Vegetables and Feta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. sumac
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, any color, cored and sliced into thin sticks
  • 5 oz. cremini mushrooms, trimmed and halved
  • 4 to 5 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 5 to 6 oz. feta cheese block, cut into large chunks
  • 6 to 7 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 6-oz. portions salmon fillet
  • 1 to 2 large lemons, halved, for serving

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, sumac, and cumin.
  3. In a baking dish or sheet-pan, arrange the tomatoes, mushrooms, bell peppers, and 4 to 5 whole garlic cloves. Nestle the chunks of feta in between. Sprinkle with 1 ½ teaspoons of the spice mixture and a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil.
  4. Place the sheet pan in the heated oven on the center rack. Bake for 15 minutes until the veggies start to soften.
  5. Meanwhile, pat the fish dry and season on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper and the remainder of the spice mixture.
  6. Carefully remove the sheet pan/baking dish from the oven and add the fish in with the veggies and feta.
  7. Cover the sheet pan/baking dish with foil and return to the center rack of the heated oven. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. (As one thick slab, ours took 20 minutes to reach the preferred 130°F.)
  8. Remove from the oven and immediately squeeze lemon juice onto the fish.

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Adapted from a recipe from Suzy Karadheh

Orzo with Shrimp: Two Recipes

Does a Mediterranean diet appeal to you? Then these two recipes might be worth a try. The first from Cook’s Country, Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon dish will grab your attention. Cooking the orzo pilaf-style gives it extra flavor and allows you to control the slightly creamy consistency.

To keep this meatless, use seafood/shellfish stock as opposed to chicken broth. Also, if the broth you use is on the bland side, use 4 cups of the stock and omit the water. If, like our homemade shellfish stock, it is intense, dilute it with two cups of water.

Adjust the amounts of olives and feta to suit your own preferences. One version of the recipe indicated only a half cup of Kalamatas and only 2 ounces of feta, while the list below indicates double of each.

Because we cooked our meal in a 10-inch-wide nonstick pan, the shrimp took an extra two minutes to become opaque. Keep that in mind if using less than a 12-inch skillet.

Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon zest, plus 1 Tbsp. juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 ½ lbs. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups orzo
  • 2 cups seafood (or chicken) broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped coarse
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Directions

  1. Mix lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and toss with lemon-salt mixture to coat; set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Stir in orzo and cook, stirring frequently, until orzo is coated with oil and lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add broth and water, bring to boil, and cook, uncovered, until orzo is al dente, about 6 minutes.
  6. Stir in olives, 1/2 cup feta, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Reduce heat to medium-low, nestle shrimp into orzo, cover, and cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup feta over top and drizzle with extra oil. Serve.

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The second recipe, Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes, is another Mediterranean-inspired shrimp dish similar to the Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon above, however this version gets started on the cooktop and then baked in the oven. It only calls for 1 pound of shrimp but we had 1 1⁄2 pounds and decided to use it all. The 12-inch skillet was brimming full. Our other change was incorporating homemade shellfish stock for the chicken broth.

To build in plenty of Mediterranean flavor, start by sautéing chopped onion and red bell pepper, to soften them before adding in minced garlic and oregano. To guarantee perfectly cooked shrimp and pasta, sauté the orzo in the aromatics to unlock its toasty notes. The crumbled saffron threads, though not traditional, introduce a sunny hue and warm, complex flavor.

Chicken (or shellfish) broth and the drained juice from a can of diced tomatoes are then stirred in; as the orzo cooks to al dente, its releases starch (similar to a risotto) creating a sauce with a subtly creamy texture. To prevent the shrimp from overcooking, stir them right into the orzo, along with the reserved tomatoes and frozen peas, and transfer the skillet to the oven to cook through gently. A sprinkling of feta before baking reinforces the dish’s Greek flavors and promises an appealing browned, cheesy crust.

Make sure that the orzo is al dente, or slightly firm to the bite; otherwise it may overcook in the oven. If using smaller or larger shrimp, the cooking times may vary accordingly. You can leave the shrimp tails on, if desired. The small amount of saffron makes a big difference to the flavor and look of the dish, so be sure to include it. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet for this recipe.

Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
  • 2 cups (12 oz.) orzo
  • Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
  • 3 cups chicken or shellfish broth
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
  • ½ cup frozen peas
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
  • 2 scallions, sliced thin
  • Lemon wedges

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate until needed.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in orzo and saffron and cook, stirring often, until orzo is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in broth and reserved tomato juice, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until orzo is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Stir in shrimp, tomatoes, and peas, then sprinkle feta evenly over top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until shrimp are cooked through and feta is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Sprinkle scallions over top and serve with lemon wedges.

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Adapted from a recipe from More Mediterranean by America’s Test Kitchen

Pescatarian Pantry Pasta

For this Spaghetti al Tonno pasta dish, it uses two jars of olive oil–packed tuna and a small amount of canned whole tomatoes, crushed by hand to produce small, supple pieces. Lots of garlic, some cooked in olive oil and the rest simply warmed through, contribute potent flavor to the tomato sauce, along with red pepper flakes for heat and anchovies for a briny backbone.

To ensure that the tuna stays moist and silky, stir it into slightly underdone spaghetti along with the tomato mixture off the heat and simply let it warm through. This not only gently warms the fish through so that it holds its moisture, but also hedges against mushy spaghetti.

Spaghetti or linguine are preferred for this dish (we used whole wheat pasta), but short or tubular shapes such as penne, fusilli, farfalle, ziti, or rigatoni also work. Likewise, oil-packed tuna is recommended, but if you happen to have water-packed tuna instead, don’t let that stop you. For a spicier dish, use the full ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

The tuna brand we buy is Tonnino. With rich flavor and silky, thick‑cut yellowfin fillets, it is a step above most brands. Yes, it costs a few extra dollars, but it yields pasta al tonno that’s posh enough for company, and can bring a luxurious touch to any weeknight meal. And aren’t you worth at least a few extra bucks?

*Now here’s the thing. If you are using the more expensive jarred tuna, why would you discard the oil it is packed in? Use that oil and add some EVOO if needed to make the 1/2 cup called for in the recipe.

Spaghetti al Tonno

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 5- to 7-oz. jars/cans olive oil-packed tuna, drained* (see head note)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. table salt, divided, plus salt for cooking pasta
  • ½ tsp. pepper, divided
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil*, divided, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1½ Tbsp. minced garlic, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
  • ¼–½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved, crushed by hand to small pieces
  • 12 oz. spaghetti
  • 6 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided

Directions

  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. While water comes to boil, gently stir tuna, lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper together in small bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon garlic, anchovies, and pepper flakes in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until oil sizzles gently and anchovies break down, 1½ to 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and their juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Increase heat to high and bring to strong simmer. Adjust heat to maintain gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 6 to 7 minutes. Cover and keep warm over low heat.
  4. Add spaghetti and 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water. Cook, stirring often, until barely al dente. Reserve ½ cup cooking water. Drain pasta and return it to pot.
  5. Off heat, add tomato mixture, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1½ teaspoons garlic and toss until pasta is well coated. Add tuna mixture and toss gently. Cover and set aside for 3 minutes so flavors can meld and pasta can finish cooking.
  6. Adjust consistency of sauce with reserved cooking water as needed.
  7. Add ¼ cup parsley and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Distribute among pasta bowls. Drizzle each portion with extra oil, if using. Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and serve.

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Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Mediterranean Shrimp and Scallop Soup

In just over an hours time, you can enjoy this lovely, nutrient-packed Mediterranean soup. We substituted 8 ounces of cod for a half pound of the shrimp, giving us a trio of seafood. Typically, we would use our own homemade shellfish stock, but since we were plum out, we incorporated a mix of bottled clam juice and boxed seafood broth.

First, you’ll give the scallops a quick sear in a hot pan. Next, you’ll sear your shrimp in the same pan for about 2 minutes, you want to see some pink but don’t worry about fully cooking it yet. Remember, you will be adding the seafood to the hot soup later, so don’t overcook the shrimp. In addition to the aromatics and fresh herbs, fresh lemon juice is the perfect finishing touch.

The original recipe indicated that it would take 35 minutes from prep through to finished soup. Unless you are a samurai chef, it’s not possible. It took me at least 35 minutes just to do the prep alone. Plus, more time was needed for the liquid to return to a boil in a couple of instances. So plan on a minimum of about 70 minutes.

We served ours with toasted garlic bread nuggets and a side salad.

Mediterranean Shrimp and Scallop Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 8 oz. sea scallops
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut in 3 pieces each
  • 8 oz. cod, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored, chopped
  • 1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled, minced
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. dried oregano, divided
  • 3 8-oz. bottles clam juice
  • 1 qt. seafood broth
  • 2 15-oz cans diced tomato
  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 6 oz. baby spinach
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill, stems removed
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Directions

  1. If using scallops, pat them dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a cast iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Gently add the sea scallops. Sear for about 1 ½ minutes on each side. Scallops should form a golden brown crust. Sprinkle a large pinch of dried oregano. Quarter each scallop and transfer to a dish and set aside for now.
  3. To the same cast iron skillet, add a little more extra virgin olive oil if needed. Again heat over medium-high until shimmering but not smoking. Add the shrimp; sear for about 2 minutes on both sides. You want to see some pink, but don’t worry about fully cooking it (you will finish cooking it in the soup.) Remove from the heat and sprinkle a generous pinch of dried oregano.
  4. In a medium heavy cooking pot, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil on medium-high. Add the chopped peppers, onions, garlic, tomato paste, salt and the remaining dried oregano. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the seafood broth and clam juice and bring to a boil. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook on medium-high for 3-5 more minutes.
  6. When the liquid returns to a boil, add the orzo pasta. Turn heat down to medium and cook for 8 minutes until orzo is tender. Add the cod about 4 minutes after you stir in the orzo.
  7. Stir in the baby spinach, parsley, dill, and lemon juice.
  8. Finally, stir in the scallops and shrimp to warm through (about 1 to 2 minutes.) Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add crushed red pepper flakes for some heat, if you like. Serve with your favorite crusty bread.

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Adapted from a recipe by Suzy Karadsheh

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

While we know salmon isn’t a Mediterranean fish, this recipe riff from “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence,” uses high-impact Provençal ingredients which are an ideal match for the rich, meaty fillets. Here, steamed fish sits atop a bed of sliced fennel to add sweet, licorice-like perfume; after cooking, the tender-crisp slices make a delicious accompaniment.

The sharp flavors of the warm olive, caper and lemon vinaigrette complement both fish and fennel. Cook the salmon to medium doneness—that is, until only the center is translucent. For well-done fillets, steam the fish for a couple minutes longer than indicated.

If you prefer white fish over salmon, thick fillets of striped bass or sea bass work well, but increase the steaming time to about 10 minutes. No matter the type of fish you choose, try to select fillets of equal thickness so they cook at the same rate.

Don’t uncover the pot while the fish is steaming, as loss of steam will slow the cooking. Instead, simply set a timer (or tell Alexa to remind you 😉 ). Note to the wise: When opening the pot, angle the lid away from you to avoid a burst of steam to the face.

We chose broccoli rabe as the other side dish. By par-boiling it first, much of the bitterness is eradicated. Once chilled in an ice bath and drained, any extra moisture is wrung out in a clean dish towel. A little garlic, olive oil and red pepper flakes give it a boost of flavor when reheated in a pan.

Fennel-Steamed Salmon with Warm Olive and Caper Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 small fennel bulbs (about 1 lb. total), halved, cored and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon zest, plus ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 6-oz. salmon fillets, each about 1 inch thick
  • 6 sprigs dill, plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed green olives, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the fennel with the lemon zest and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside. Season the salmon all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Place a folding steamer basket in a large Dutch oven. Add enough water to fill the bottom of the pot without submerging the basket. Remove the basket. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high.
  3. Line the basket with the fennel. Place the salmon skin down on the fennel, then lay the dill sprigs on the fillets. Turn off the heat under the pot, then set the basket in it. Cover and return to a simmer over medium. Steam until the thickest parts of the fillets reach 115°F to 120°F (for medium doneness), 7 to 9 minutes; the fennel should be tender but not completely soft.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium, combine the olives, capers, oil and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, just until sizzling gently, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, just until warm, another 1 to 2 minutes. Cover and set aside.
  6. When the salmon is done, remove and discard the dill sprigs. Using a metal spatula, transfer the fennel and fillets, skin down, to a serving platter. Sprinkle with the chopped dill, then spoon on the warm sauce.

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Adapted from a recipe found in Milk Street; original by “Patricia Wells at Home in Provence”

Polenta with Shrimp and Tomatoes

The back story: Polenta e schie, a specialty of Venice, Italy, is polenta topped with tiny local shrimp called schie. The dish typically is a minimalist, sauce-free marriage of corn and crustacean, but Michela Tasca, owner of Ca’ de Memi farm and bed and breakfast in Piombino Dese, just north of Venice, taught Milk Street a version in which the schie are poached in a simple tomato sauce accented with garlic and fresh herbs.

So in this recipe, Milk Street uses the large shrimp available in the U.S. in place of the schie. The polenta is simmered in the oven; the gentle, even heat obviates the need for frequent stirring. This means that while the polenta cooks, you’re free to prep the other ingredients. While this method for making polenta may take longer, it sure is a heck of a lot easier than standing over a hot stove stirring constantly for nearly an hour… Works for me!

TIPS: Be sure to use coarse stoneground cornmeal; fine cornmeal produces gluey polenta, and steel-ground cornmeal lacks flavor. If juicy, ripe tomatoes are not available, look for cocktail or Campari tomatoes, as we find them to be dependably good no matter the season.

Milk Street warns not to begin cooking the shrimp until the polenta is done. In the covered pan or pot, the polenta will remain hot for the short amount of time it takes to cook the shrimp and tomatoes. Don’t worry if the shrimp are only parcooked after their quick sear. They’ll finish cooking when they simmer with the tomatoes for a couple of minutes.

Polenta with Shrimp and Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup coarse stoneground yellow cornmeal
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1½ lbs. extra-large shrimp, peeled (tails removed) and deveined
  • 4 large garlic cloves, 2 finely grated, 2 smashed and peeled, reserved separately
  • 1½ lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil or flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the lower-middle position.
  2. In a large oven-safe saucepan or small (4- to 5-quart) Dutch oven, combine the cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt and 5½ cups water, then whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium, stirring often, then place uncovered in the oven and cook for 45 minutes.
  3. Remove from the oven, whisk the polenta, then return, still uncovered, to the oven. Cook until the polenta is thick and creamy, another 15 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, whisk until smooth, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt and black pepper, then cover and set aside while you cook the shrimp.
  5. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon of oil, the grated garlic and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  6. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add half of the shrimp in a single layer and cook until browned on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate. Cook the remaining shrimp in the same way using the residual oil in the pan.
  7. Set the now-empty skillet over medium, add the smashed garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
  8. Add the tomatoes, pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to soften and release their juices, 2 to 3 minutes.
  9. Stir in the shrimp with accumulated juices and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 2 minutes. Off heat, remove and discard the garlic cloves and stir in the basil, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  10. Whisk the polenta to smooth it out, adding water as needed to thin. Divide the polenta among individual bowls, then spoon on the shrimp-tomato mixture.

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Adapted by Rose Hattabaugh for Milk Street

Seared Shrimp Tacos with Tomato and Cotija

Tacos gobernador is a modern Mexican classic that combines a sauté of shrimp, fresh tomatoes and chilies with quesillo, a stringy cheese not unlike mozzarella, that’s melted onto the tortillas before assembly. In this recipe, Milk Street morphs those tacos into something simpler but equally delicious and in the same spirit.

The shrimp is seared, then combined with sautéed onion, fresh tomatoes and a minced charred habanero chili. Instead of melting a mild, milky cheese onto the tortillas before filling them, this recipe simply garnishes the tacos with crumbled cotija, a dryish Mexican cheese that packs lots of salty, savory flavor, along with fresh cilantro.

The shrimp filling gets a fair amount, but not scorching heat from the habanero chili; to tame the spiciness, Milk Street suggests seeding the chili after charring, before finely chopping it.

With no corn tortillas available at two different stores, we ended up with the flour variety. And for some odd reason our two small habaneros hardly had any kick to them, even when keeping the seeds. Thus, an added 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne provided the heat we desired, but not overly so.

With a side of fiesta black beans, it was one tasty dinner!

Don’t forget to pat the shrimp dry before searing. Removing surface moisture helps prevent steaming and ensures good, flavorful browning. Also, don’t brown the shrimp on both sides—the point is for them to be only parcooked after searing. They will fully cook—to a plump, tender finish—when returned to the pan with the tomatoes.

Seared Shrimp Tacos with Tomato and Cotija

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 habanero chili, stemmed
  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed) and deveined, patted dry
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
  • 3 oz. cotija cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed

Directions

  1. Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high until water flicked onto the surface immediately sizzles and evaporates. Add the chili and cook, turning every 1 to 2 minutes, until well charred on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Transfer the chili to a cutting board.
  2. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp in an even layer and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook without stirring until the bottoms of the shrimp are browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a large plate and set aside; reserve the skillet. Finely chop the chili.
  3. In the same skillet over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Stir in the shrimp and any accumulated juices, the tomatoes and chili; cook, stirring, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 1 to 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in the lime juice, then taste and season with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, put the cotija, cilantro and lime wedges into small bowls. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a serving dish, then serve with the tortillas and garnishes for making tacos.

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Recipe by Calvin Cox for Milk Street

Salmon with Sautéed Tomatoes

Heart-healthy salmon is paired with jammy tomatoes which get an herby boost from pesto sauce. With very few ingredients and in less than a half hour, you have the makings of a company-worthy dinner.

To really enhance this Mediterranean meal, we also paired the salmon with Zucchini and Feta Fritters with a side of Yogurt Cucumber-Dill Sauce (which could be made a day ahead to save time on dinner night.)

Cutting the fish into the recommended 4 slices will end up with 6-ounce filets. We decided to divide the salmon into 3 filets weighing in at 8-ounces each. If they have thin “tails” at one end. flip them up and secure with a toothpick while you cook skin side down. Remove the toothpicks before flipping them over. This will help alleviate overdone ends.

Salmon with Sautéed Tomatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. basil pesto
  • 1 1/2 lbs. salmon fillet, cut into 4 servings
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add grape tomatoes, season with 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in pesto and sauté two minutes more. Transfer tomato mixture to a plate and keep warm in a 200°F oven.
  2. Wipe out skillet (although I didn’t find this necessary). Season salmon pieces with 1/2 teaspoon each Kosher salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Place salmon pieces in skillet, skin side down. Sauté about 4-6 minutes. If you’re pieces are thick you may have to cook them a few minutes longer.
  3. Turn salmon and sauté and additional 4 minutes until salmon is cooked but tender. Serve over tomatoes and with lemon wedges.

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Andalusian-Style Tomato Salad with Olive Oil Tuna

With tomatoes at the height of their season, this fabulous salad hits all the right notes. No cooking, easy to prep, and tasty as all get out—providing you use great tomatoes. All we needed was one because the heirloom that we picked up at the local farmer’s market weighed in at a whopping 1 1⁄2 pounds and was bright red all the way through!

According to the Milk Street article where this recipe came from, pipirrana is a summery, tomato-centric salad from Andalusia in southern Spain. Consider it gazpacho in chopped-salad form. Their version of pipirran con atún, includes tuna, and hard-cooked eggs, making the dish hearty enough to be a satisfying main course. The vegetables are left in largish chunks instead of a fine dice, as is common. The onion is thinly sliced and steeped in sherry vinegar for a few minutes to tame its bite.

One thing you want to stay away from here is canned tuna packed in water. The flavor of tuna in olive oil is richer and its texture more velvety. And by all means, when you drain the tuna, do it over a bowl and use it when making the vinaigrette, adding olive oil as needed to make up the difference. Don’t know why most recipes fail to mention this step.

We drained the pickled onions directly over the bowl holding the tuna olive oil. This is used to make the vinaigrette that dresses the salad. We were blown over by how good this simple salad was—made even better with a chilled glass of crisp Spanish white wine.

Andalusian-Style Tomato Salad with Olive Oil Tuna

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into ½-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 medium green or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup drained capers
  • 2 5-oz. cans olive oil–packed tuna, drained and flaked into small pieces (don’t discard the olive oil from the tuna can, save it to make the vinaigrette)
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, cucumber and ½ teaspoon salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the onion, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt. Let both stand for about 10 minutes.
  2. Place a large strainer over the bowl containing the oil from the canned tuna. Pour the onion slices and their juices into the strainer, pressing down to remove most of the vinegar. Add the drained onions to the tomato-cucumber mixture.
  3. Add the bell pepper, capers and tuna to the vegetables, lightly stir.
  4. To the vinegar oil mixture, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss. Transfer to a serving dish and top with the egg wedges.

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Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Shrimp, Orzo and Zucchini with Ouzo and Mint

In this Mediterranean recipe, you will coax orzo pasta to a rich, creamy texture, as if making risotto. A fragrant broth* of brandy, aromatic vegetables and shrimp shells is the cooking liquid for the orzo, infusing the dish with richness and subtle sweetness.

The shrimp themselves are added only after the orzo is al dente so they remain plump and tender. This adaptation from Milk Street takes a simple approach to the cooking with fewer ingredients than the Greek original, but retains the delicious, bracing flavors.

Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit; it’s added at the very end of cooking to accentuate the licorice notes of the fennel seed. Milk Street suggests that you don’t choose large zucchini for this recipe. Look for small to medium squash (ones that weigh 6 to 8 ounces each), as they have fewer seeds to remove. Well our supermarket didn’t have any smaller ones so we got a large zucchini before reading this tip, and it worked out fine.

To seed the zucchini, use a small spoon to scrape along the center of each half. Also, if making the shrimp broth, when simmering, don’t allow it to boil or simmer vigorously or the liquid will evaporate too quickly and the finished volume will be too slight.

*Since we already had homemade shellfish stock on hand, there was no need to make the broth and thus omitted the red bell pepper, celery and onion, and started at Step 5 with seasoning the shrimp. We also used frozen shrimp without shells since we weren’t making broth. These two things saved a large amount of time in prepping and cooking. We did however add the brandy to our homemade stock and included the bay leaves in the cooking process.

Shrimp, Orzo and Zucchini with Ouzo and Mints

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 lb. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed) and deveined, shells reserved
  • 3 medium celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb. total), halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 lb. ripe plum or cocktail tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon ouzo
  • 1½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • ½ cup lightly packed fresh mint, chopped

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until shimmering. Add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring just once or twice, until bright pink and dry, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Add the celery, bell pepper, onion, bay and ¼ teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to release moisture, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add the brandy and scrape up any browned bits. Add 4 cups water, bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
  4. Cool for about 10 minutes, then strain through a fine mesh sieve set over a 1-quart liquid measuring cup or medium bowl; press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible (discard the solids). You should have about 3 cups strained broth.
  5. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil until shimmering. Add the orzo and stir to coat.
  6. Add the zucchini, tomatoes, fennel seeds, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the tomatoes begin to release their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add 1½ cups shrimp broth and bring to a simmer over medium-high. Cook, uncovered and stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 6 minutes; reduce the heat as the mixture thickens.
  8. Add another 1 cup broth and cook, stirring vigorously and adjusting the heat to maintain a simmer, until the orzo is tender and the consistency is slightly soupy, 3 to 6 minutes.
  9. Add the shrimp and another ¼ cup broth, then cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
  10. Remove the pot from the heat. Remove and discard the bay, then stir in the ouzo and lemon zest. If desired, thin the consistency by stirring in additional broth, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the mint.

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This was an adaptation of a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

Saganaki is a traditional Greek dish with sweet, briny shrimp covered with a garlic- and herb-accented tomato sauce, and topped with crumbles of creamy, salty feta cheese. This version hails from America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) “The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook.”

This recipe works equally well with jumbo (16 to 20 per pound) or extra-large (21 to 25 per pound) shrimp, but the cooking times in step 3 will vary slightly depending on which you use. The base for the sauce is provided by canned diced tomatoes along with sautéed onions and garlic. Dry white wine adds acidity, and ouzo brings welcome complexity with its slightly sweet anise flavor.

*Since ouzo is not in everyone’s liquor cabinet (it wasn’t in ours—but is now), here are two alternatives: Pernod—Though slightly sweeter than ouzo, this French anise-flavored liqueur is the next best thing. Or use a combo of Vodka + Anise Seed, with one tablespoon of vodka plus 1/8 teaspoon of anise seed to equal 1 tablespoon of ouzo.

Serve the shrimp with crusty bread or steamed white rice.

Greek-Style Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on, if desired
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. ouzo (*see note above)
  • 5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 tsp.)
  • 1 tsp. grated zest from 1 lemon
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced medium (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced medium
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 28-oz. can diced tomato, drained, 1/3 cup juices reserved
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 6 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill leaves

Directions

  1. Toss shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon ouzo, 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl until well combined. Set aside while preparing sauce.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, red and green bell pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cover skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables release their moisture, 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture cooks off and vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes longer.
  3. Add remaining 4 teaspoons garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  4. Add tomatoes and reserved juice, wine, and remaining 2 tablespoons ouzo; increase heat to medium-high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors have melded and sauce is slightly thickened (sauce should not be completely dry), 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low and add shrimp along with any accumulated liquid to pan; stir to coat and distribute evenly. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are opaque throughout, 6 to 9 minutes for extra-large or 7 to 11 minutes for jumbo, adjusting heat as needed to maintain bare simmer.
  6. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle evenly with feta. Drizzle remaining tablespoon oil evenly over top and sprinkle with dill. Serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe for America’s Test Kitchen