The Mediterranean lifestyle has always been characterised by a balanced, flavoursome, and varied diet. If you have been to Greece (or to a Greek restaurant), you will know that Mediterranean food makes the most of natural ingredients, using lots of vegetables, herbs, and spices. Today we suggest that you try a prawn youvetsi. A youvetsi is a traditional clay dish used to prepare stews, and so any recipe cooked in a youvetsi takes its name. Traditionally, youvetsis are hearty meat dishes, but there are variations where meat is replaced with seafood. This prawn youvetsi recipe is a delicious variation that is perfect for an al fresco summer dinner. Although the ingredient list is extensive, the actual preparation process is very simple.Ingredients:
- For the sauce:
- 2 cups of fresh tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and crushed
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 medium onion
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ cup dry white wine
- salt and pepper
- For the prawn dish:
- 1kg of fresh prawns
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 cups of Mediterranean Delicacies Feta Cheese
- ½ cup Mediterranean Delicacies parmesan, grated.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- A handful of chives
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- ¼ cup of ouzo (ideally) or brandy
Method: The basis of any youvetsi is the tomato sauce. This has to be homemade, as it will enhance enormously the flavour of the prawns. Follow these steps to make your Greek tomato sauce: Mince the garlic cloves and chop the onion as finely as you can. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion, garlic, and bay leaves for 3 minutes. When they are tender, add the peeled and deseeded tomatoes, the cloves and the cinnamon stick, and sprinkle them with freshly ground pepper and wine. Let the sauce simmer for 10 minutes. Keep in mind that the longer you let the sauce simmer, the thicker it will be. Remove the cloves and cinnamon when it is finally cooked. While the sauce is cooking, peel and devein the shrimps. Rinse the feta cheese under cold water for a few seconds (this will firm it up). Using your hands, crumble the cheese into small chunks and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200 or to gas mark 6. While it heats up, place the prawns in a bowl and sprinkle them with lemon juice and ouzo.
Saute the prawns in a pan with a little olive oil. Place the prawns in a baking dish and cover with Greek tomato sauce. Sprinkle the crumbled feta and dust some grated parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until the feta is golden brown.