Health & Fitness

Simple dish brings home the flavors of Greece

Plump fresh shrimp, big red tomatoes, fresh oregano, feta cheese and Greek olive oil were among the delights I found in a taverna off the main square on the Greek island of Corfu. Cooked together they make a specialty that is served throughout the Greek islands where all of these ingredients are plentiful.

In this simple local restaurant, pots were bubbling on the stove while the chef chopped the fresh herbs by hand. He worked alone in the kitchen preparing everything himself. I asked him how he managed on his own. He said the dishes are so simple they practically cook themselves.

I created this dinner of shrimp with feta cheese and rice pilaf with his taverna cooking in mind. He placed all of the ingredients in the oven to bake. I shortened the cooking time by sauteing the shrimp in a skillet.

Feta cheese is traditionally made with sheep's or goat's milk. Many commercial producers now make it with cow's milk. It has a tangy flavor that lends zip to the dish. It is sold in the dairy case of most supermarkets.

Pilaf is a rice dish in which the rice is browned in oil or butter before the liquid is added. Any type of rice can be used. If pressed for time, make a simple quick or minute rice to go with the shrimp.

This meal contains 510 calories per serving with 22 percent of calories from fat.

* Buy preshelled shrimp if possible.

* If your dried oregano is gray instead of green, it's time for a new jar. (Most dried spices and herbs should be replaced after six months.)

* To save time, buy feta cheese crumbled instead of in a block.

* Sliced onions are used in both the shrimp and rice dishes. Slice at one time and divide accordingly.

* Minced garlic can be found in the produce section of the supermarket.

Taverna Shrimp With Feta Cheese

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2medium onion, sliced (1 cup)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 large tomato, sliced (1 1/2 cups)

3/4lb. large shrimp, shelled

1/4cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the onion, garlic and tomato. Simmer 5 minutes. Add shrimp and sprinkle cheese and oregano on top. Simmer 3 minutes, turning shrimp to make sure they are cooked on both sides. Remove from heat, cover with a lid and let sit 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 302 calories (29 percent from fat), 9.6 g fat (3.9 g saturated, 3.0 g monounsaturated), 275 mg cholesterol, 39.2 g protein, 14.3 g carbohydrates, 3.0 g fiber, 472 mg sodium.

The Wichita Eagle—03/01/11

Rice Pilaf

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2cup sliced onions

1/2cup long grain white rice

1 cup fat free, low salt chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high and add onion and rice. Saute 2 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and cook, gently, 15 minutes. Rice will be cooked and liquid evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 208 calories (11 percent from fat), 2.6 g fat (0.4 g saturated, 1.8 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 5.1 g protein, 40.2 g carbohydrates, 1.1 g fiber, 289 mg sodium.

The Wichita Eagle—03/01/11