Greek flavor inspires dinner

October 30, 1991|By Charlotte Balcomb Lane | Charlotte Balcomb Lane,Orlando Sentinel

The terrific Greek food served in the Gulf Coast fishing community of Tarpon Springs, Fla., inspired this simple, low-fat seafood dish.

Tarpon springs-style Greek shrimp and rice is an updated version of a perennial favorite from this waterfront community. Tarpon Springs was established by Greek sponge fishermen in the early 1900s and its food has become famous among locals and tourists.

This dish is bursting with the zesty flavors of traditional Greek cooking: Garlic, tomatoes and olive oil.

For convenience, the dish can be partially prepared in advance and refrigerated until you're ready to cook.

Greek-baked Shrimp

20 extra-large shrimp

4 medium-size plum tomatoes

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed through a garlic press

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced or 1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 cup long-grain white rice

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water

2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Fresh lemon wedges for garnish

Preheat oven to 325. Spray a shallow casserole or four individual au gratin dishes with non-stick cooking spray.

Assemble all the ingredients near the stove.

Peel the shrimp and run a knife down the back to remove the dark vein. Set aside.

Core the tomatoes and slice lengthwise. Gently squeeze out the seeds. Slice lengthwise into strips and dice finely.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

Stir in the shrimp and crushed garlic cloves. Cook for one to two minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp begin to curl and turn slightly pink. (Don't overcook the shrimp at this stage because they will continue to cook more in the oven.)

Stir in the tomatoes, oregano, red pepper, parsley, salt and rice. Make sure rice is coated well with oil and seasonings.

Stir the white wine into the skillet and cook until it starts to boil.

Pour the rice and shrimp mixture into the prepared casserole or au gratin dishes.

Pour the water over all, making sure the shrimp show on the top.

Sprinkle evenly with crumbled feta cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed into rice and surface is crusty. Garnish with lemon wedges. Serves four.

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