Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Garithes Yiouvetsi (Prawns with Tomatoes & Feta)

Remember that movie Wedding Crashers? You know, the one where Owen Wilson and Vince Vaugh teams up (again - really, how many movies have they made together?) and, well, crashes a wedding? The duo are smooth-talking bachelors, out to have a good time on someone else's tab and  hopefully get lucky. Because, let's face it, if getting lucky is your aim, a wedding is the perfect backdrop. All that romance in the air? It's like taking candy from a kid.

Want to know a dirty secret from the archives of the Creative Pot family tree? Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn has nothing on my dad. He was the original wedding crasher. For real.

As child my brother and I would delight in grand tales of how my dad and his best friend at the time used to crash weddings in their youth. They almost always got away with it and knew all the popular wedding reception venues in their hometown intimately. Unlike the characters in Wedding Crashers though, they didn't have a different back story for each wedding they went to. No, my dad and his buddy kicked it old school, sticking to a story that worked. For my dad, that was pretending to be Greek.

Now, if you've met my dad, you'll know that he does not look Greek at all. But he claims they got away with it every time. Either he's just bragging or there were some pretty gullible people around in the 70's. Either way though whenever I see something Greek or eat Greek food, I think fondly of those legendary stories.

Blazing Hot WokAnd so I couldn't help but giggle when Joanne issued the Regional Recipes challenge for June - we were going on a virtual tour of Greece! Land of my wedding crashing forefathers! And what could be more Greek than seafood? The name (yiouvetsi) initally puzzled me as I've come to associate it with a slow cooked lamb dish featuring sun-ripened tomatoes. Yiouvetsi, incidentally, refers to the dish in which the dish is traditionally cooked & served in. (Much like the Moroccan tagine.) So technically anything can be a yiouvetsi.

When I started plotting this prawn rendition, TheHusband eyed me with slight mistrust. You see, he is not a seafood lover. But he is also a very patient man and so he indulged me and even rooted from the sidelines. It paid off. The tomato and bellpepper stew formed the perfect backdrop for the man-sized prawns and together with some flat bread and simply sauteed babymarrows, this was a lick-your-fingers off kind of meal. After all, good things come to those who trust their wives.

Prawns with Tomatoes & Feta
(Garithes Yiouvetsi) 
Adapted from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size squares
500g cherry (baby) tomatoes, halved
1/4 tsp peri-peri*
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt & pepper to taste
500g king-size prawns, deveined, but with tails attached 
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped oregano
75g feta cheese, cubed

1. Pre-heat oven to 180C (350F). Heat oilve oil in a large frying pan over medium to high heat. Add onion and fry for 2 minutes, then add bell pepper and fry another 2 - 3 minutes or until starting to soften.
2. Add tomatoes, peri-peri and wine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring to boiling point, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove lid and cook another 5 minutes over medium heat to evaporate most of the liquid and allow the sauce to thicken.
3. Toss prawns and herbs through, then spoon into an oven dish. Dot with feta and bake at 180C (350F) for 25 - 30 minutes.

Serve with orzo or crusty bread, and simply sauteed veggies or a fresh salad.

*or use chopped dried chillies.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 186.1, Total fat 5.3 g, Saturated fat 1.2 g, Polyunsaturated fat 0.6 g, Monounsaturated fat 2.6 g, Cholesterol 0.0 mg, Sodium 295.5 mg, Potassium 386.9 mg, Total carbohydrate 11.7 g, Dietary fiber 2.9 g, Sugars 0.4 g, Protein 23.0 g
Good source of: Vitamin C 122.1 %, Vitamin A 66.7 %,


Joanne on June 23, 2010 4:43 am said...

These pictures are GORGEOUS! Thanks so much for submitting this!

I love the backstory of your father being a wedding crasher. I just watched that movie on Comedy Central two days about for the gazillionth time. I wonder why he chose Greek, of all nationalities.

The stew looks delicious!

Marisa on June 23, 2010 6:49 am said...

Thanks Joanne. My dad sure is a character!

nina on June 23, 2010 6:50 am said...

This is truly amazing....the recipe, the post and then your beautiful photos. Well done, you have managed to persuade me to make this tonight!!!!

Marisa on June 23, 2010 7:03 am said...

Thanks Nina - I'm sure you will be licking your lips off too tonight! :-)

Juno on June 23, 2010 10:11 am said...

Oh, lovely, Marisa. Beautiful pics. Now all I can think about it prawns, and it's only 10 am. x

polkadotcupcake on June 23, 2010 10:29 am said...

I can't imagine that your dad looked remotely Greek, but what a character! And such a wonderful story to go with this incredible looking dish!
My boy never used to like prawns, but now can't get enough of them, I'm just too scared to cook them.. But I will gird my loins and make this, sharpish! nice one (again!), every dish you make looks and sounds like a winner!

Marisa on June 23, 2010 4:35 pm said...

Juno - Aaah, what a great compliment! I'd recommend skipping this for breakfast though. ;-)

Polkadot - Yup, not even remotely. But a character he is. Want to know a secret: I'm scared of cooking prawns too! Any seafood actually. So if I took the plunge - you can too.

Cherine on June 24, 2010 1:31 pm said...

Looks wonderful!

SilverMoon Dragon on June 24, 2010 2:17 pm said...

We don't eat seafood, but this dish looks lovely. While I won't be trying this particular recipe, you have inspired me to try the lamb version you spoke of!

Jeanne @ CookSister! on June 28, 2010 2:12 pm said...

That looks fantastic - and I love the Embarrassing Family Secret!! Once in the 1970s my dad once told a group of Japanese schoolchildren that he was Gary Player and even gave them an "autograph" to prove it! Can't choose your family... :o)

girlichef on July 05, 2010 3:43 pm said...

That is hilarious!! What hubs is full of crazy stories...I should probably start working them in, although some may not believe them! This Yiouvetsi is stunning!

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