Chillin' and Grillin'

Though I love the relaxed feeling of being on vacation with no pressing responsibilities, I am not so fond of the feeding schedule. I think we ate three meals a day and that is something we never do.

Three real meals. WTH?

We recently spent the week in Rockport and admittedly ate too much. A well-appointed home right on the water, we suffered through five nights and six days of a little bit of this and a lot of that, which was a lot of nothing. No schedule. No routine. No plans. Nowhere to go. Literally.

The first night in camp, we wanted to go out to eat and visited (and walked out of) four different restaurants. After the last stop, we conceded (we are not good losers) and headed to the HEB to supplement some things we needed to pull together a quick and unplanned dinner.

On three mornings, we got up early and ventured over to Port Aransas to splash around in the ocean waters for a bit. Though we were surrounded by hills of seaweed on the beach and swimming with the seaweed in the water, it was rejuvenating for the spirit to be one with the seaweed and sand and floating in the warm and salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

On two consecutive days, our house had visitors. These dolphin were our afternoon entertainment and we reveled in the joy of seeing these animals so close inland.

Other than that incredible excitement, we were mostly chill...reading, napping, swimming, cooking, eating, riding bikes, eating...repeat.

Naturally, we had seafood on our minds and we picked up some head-on shrimp at the dock one day and whipped up a simple grilled dinner. Using mostly ingredients we schlepped from home, we grilled La Mancha Spanish chorizo, head-on shrimp and market veggies including zucchini, onions, shishito peppers and red pepper. While David grilled, I quickly prepared a tomato sauce for dipping and a small salad.
The shrimp were so fresh and tasted like shrimp should taste, we decided to pick up a few pounds as we headed out of town--a pound for us as well as a few pounds to share with friends since food is always better when you share.

Driving home with our fresh head-on shrimp, David and I agreed we wanted to make something different. Something entirely out of character for us. I suggested we use the cazuelas, which I love, but rarely use. That was when David recommended this traditional Spanish shrimp dish with tomatoes and feta.

And so this dish came to be. Simple. And simply delicious.

Buen provecho!
Baked Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta
The Cowgirl Gourmet

Print recipe

If you are looking for a savory and healthy dish that is easy to make and tastes like you cooked it all day, try this lovely baked shrimp with tomatoes and feta. I used fresh tomatoes from the farmers market (actually, the farmers know I love the tomato "seconds"--ones that might be a bit ripe or have a soft spot or just not in its retail prime), though you could also use canned tomatoes. Fresh, never-been-frozen shrimp, a great feta and fresh oregano seem to be the key ingredients. 

Serves 2 as entrees or 4 as appetizers

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic, minced or sliced
4-5 tomatoes, cored and chopped, be sure and get all the juices, too (1 12.5 ounce can tomatoes)
A few shakes of red pepper flakes, or to taste
A good shake or two of paprika
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2-2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
A squeeze of lemon and even a little lemon zest, for serving
Sprig of oregano, garnish for each plate

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large saucepan over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Just before it begins to smoke, remove the pan from the heat, turn down the heat, place the pan back on the cooktop and then add the onions. Sprinkle a bit of kosher salt over the onions to season and stir. Allow the onions to cook until they wilt, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and another dash of salt. Stir to combine and cook for another minute.

Now add the chopped tomatoes and all of the lovely juice. Add another dash of salt, stir well and allow to come to a boil (if you need to, increase the heat now). Once it boils, turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once it has cooked down and is thickening up a bit, add the red peppers flakes, paprika, oregano and freshly ground black pepper.

Stir to combine and then carefully nestle the shrimp into the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the top and pop the dish into the oven. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and serve. Top with a squeeze of lemon and a little zest and then a sprig of oregano for garnish.
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