Greek-style shrimp with feta
Photo: Henri Hollis
Photo: Henri Hollis

5:30 Challenge: Use fiery tomato sauce, feta cheese to dress up shrimp

Frozen shrimp are a weeknight lifesaver for any seafood lover. A large bag will keep for months in the freezer, and the shrimp themselves defrost in minutes under cool running water. Cook them a few minutes on the stove, and you’ve got a healthy protein ready to go.

The only problem? Most bags of frozen shrimp available to the average grocery shopper aren’t particularly flavorful. They’re simply not going to pack that sweetness and subtle brininess of fresh Georgia whites or the meaty earthiness of shrimp from the Gulf. But no matter — take advantage of the mild flavor of the everyday frozen specimens and cook them in a fiery tomato sauce.

This recipe, for so-called “Greek-style” shrimp is inspired by a similar recipe from America’s Test Kitchen, albeit trimmed down and streamlined for an even faster meal. Instead of rolling out an array of spices and seasonings, make use of pre-seasoned canned diced tomatoes. Those that include basil, garlic and oregano are particularly good here, but any can that also includes garlic will work just fine. Employ your favorite extra-virgin olive oil to do triple duty — flavoring the shrimp, sauteing a red bell pepper and drizzling for garnish. Use a heavy hand with red pepper flakes, if you’re not serving small children, for a backbone of heat. And finally, top the whole thing with a generous layer of the best feta cheese you can get your hands on.

Yes, cheese and seafood.

It may sound wrong, but think about it. Feta offers not only richness but also brine, the complex salinity that is missing from those grocery store shrimp. It’ll make up for those missing layers of flavor and add some oomph of its own.

If you’ve got fresh herbs in your fridge, they’re a great final touch, and a side of steamed rice is nice. But these are not as critical as a big hunk of crusty bread for sopping up the zesty sauce. Don’t skip it.

MORE 5:30 CHALLENGE: 

Dijon turkey burgers with Swiss cheese
Pork tenderloin with grapes and garlic
 
Pasta shells with lamb and peas
 
Udon miso soup
 
Trout almondine
 
Harissa chicken thighs
 
Warm chickpea salad 
Steak fajitas
 
Scallops with Fennel and Grapefruit
 
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Read the 2018 AJC Fall Dining Guide: Dining on Buford Highway 

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