Shrimp happens to be one of the most favored Seafood around the globe and it is prepared countless ways and found in dishes from every ethnic culture. Yet it seems that there are a few select classic shrimp dishes that keep popping up on restaurant menus around the world. The dish I am speaking of is the famous Classic Shrimp Scampi. The delicious combination of butter, garlic, white wine, lemon juice and fresh parsley.
My version is a twist on this delicious classic by adding Greek Yogurt, Feta and fresh oregano. I call it Shrimp Santorini because it reminds me of a Shrimp dish I had in Greece while dining on the beautiful hills of Santorini. The classic Shrimp Scampi was served with feta and yogurt on the side. I decided to try incorporating the Greek yogurt and feta into my Scampi and it turned my Scampi into a creamy garlic feta sauce that coated each shrimp. Oh My God, it was absolutely delicious, the best of both worlds and maybe It made me feel just a little less guilty when I ate a whole loaf of bread to soak up every drop of sauce, scrumptious!
Well, it’s been 10 years and I have decided to finally recreate my twist and fusion of this classic favorite. This time I had a wonderful assistant that worked with me side by side as we recreated my Shrimp Santorini. This was Dorothea Tsakiris Pirpiris, daughter of my good friends Sam and Connie Tsakiris. Connie’s father James Chilis owned “The House Of Neptune” a famous landmark in Dundalk Maryland known for their outstanding Seafood. Several years later in 2001 “The Boulevard Diner” was opened on this famous landmark by the family & friends of James Chilis. Now owned by the Tsakiris and Fourtinakis families. It is operated by the Tsakiris family with Marc Tsakiris at the helm recreating some of the famous recipes of his grandfather James Chilis. So “The House of Neptune” lives on at The Boulevard Diner with the original Crab Cake recipe and the Neptune Sub, a delicious combination of Fried Shrimp, Cole Slaw, Mayo and Cocktail Sauce. The menu is also adorned with many other classics and Marc’s very own delicious recipes that have now become customer favorites.
So you can see with her family history why I loved having Dorothea as my helper. In addition, Dorothea is a great photographer and took all the pictures of this delicious dish. This day was so much fun and a win, win for me. I not only had a great helper but a great photographer as well. Although the best part was making memories with my good friends!
So here we go… Shrimp Santorini is a great dish that can be made ahead of time for a party or family dinner. The cool yogurt and feta calm down the intense garlic flavor. What this means is… no real worries about your breath or the smell of garlic seeping out of your skin, not my favorite perfume fragrance, haha! Just know that this often happens with very garlicky dishes where the garlic is either raw or barely cooked. Slowly sautéed garlic will not have this effect, but it must be cooked through or roasted. So don’t let the number of garlic cloves in this recipe scare you. Put the mints away… ok, maybe keep a couple in your pocket just in case, lol.
Shrimp Santorini in a Feta and Greek Yogurt Cream Sauce
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 30 min
Yield: 5-6 entrée size portions
- 2-3 pounds extra large raw shrimp (tail on)
- 2 cups flour
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 stick of butter
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 8-10 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 bunch scallions (sliced thin with the green)
- 8 oz dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay)
- 3-4 cups of Good chicken Stock
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used 0% fat)
- 1/2 cup fresh chopped oregano
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 pound thick Spaghetti (I used the Greek Macaroni, no5 that is used for Greek Pasticcio)
In a deep skillet heat 1/2 stick of butter and 2 tbsp olive oil on med low heat. While this is heating take your clean shrimp and place in a bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss to coat, then add 2 cups of flour and toss again. Turn up the heat to med-high and when the butter starts to bubble add one shrimp at a time to the skillet. Cook just briefly on each side until slightly golden. If possible do not let the shrimp cook all the way through so they don’t get tough. Repeat this process placing the cooked shrimp on a platter until all the shrimp are cooked. You will end up with a plate of light golden slightly crispy shrimp. Do not cover the platter, just set it to the side.
Lower the heat to the lowest setting, add the other 1/2 stick of butter and the olive oil, then add the garlic, dried oregano, and scallions, stir well, cover and let sauté for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will begin to smell amazing! Bring water to boil, add a sprinkle of salt and a swirl of olive oil, add pasta and cook about 10-15 minutes until tender but not mushy (al dente) which actually mean “to the tooth”. Better explained like this: when you bite into the cooked pasta, it should not go right through your teeth, that means it is overcooked and too mushy. Now if you bite into the cooked pasta and it stops at your tooth and you must bite down gently on the pasta to get through it, you have cooked it perfectly.
While the pasta is cooking uncover the pan with the garlic, add 2 tbsp of flour that is left over from coating the shrimp to the pan. This will form a paste as you stir, let cook on medium heat stirring often for about 5 minutes. Now we will deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and whisking the two together until incorporated. Now add the yogurt and 1 cup of the chicken stock, whisk rapidly until sauce is smooth and begins to thicken. Continue to stir as the sauce thickens and make sure you bring it to a light boil, reduce heat to a simmer and add the fresh oregano and the feta cheese. Let the flavors blend together for about 10 minutes, at this point you will need to add more of the chicken stock if the sauce looks too thick. At this time taste for salt and add fresh cracked pepper if possible.
Strain and rinse the pasta, cover and keep warm. Then add the shrimp back into the pan with the sauce, gently coating the shrimp with the sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes until the shrimp are heated through. Place a serving of pasta on a plate and top with some of the sauce. Then top with the shrimp, sprinkle the fresh parsley and even some feta crumbles if you would like.
Dorothea and I had so much fun prepping, cooking and especially eating and sharing this with our Boulevard Diner expert Sam Tsakiris. We did feel bad for her mom, my friend Connie who is allergic to shrimp, luckily we made a few other goodies at the same time that she could eat. So thank you again Dorothea, for being a great assistant and a wonderful photographer that helped bring this wonderful dish to life!