Shrimp Flambe with Ouzo

Being part of the Greek Dinner Around The World event has been an extraordinary experience, in progress!

Thank you Katie Aliferis for you gracious invitation!

Thank you Keri Douglas for creating this amazing event in bringing together Hellenes from all over the world! You are an example of what Percy Bysshe Shelly meant when he said “We are all Hellenes.”  It’s an honor connecting with you! Looking forward to getting closer. 

Thank you participants and sponsors for your wonderful contriburions and friendships! Hellenes and Friends who joined  us!

We all came together sharing ourselves with each other. Our Greek roots, food, and recipes. Greek products and wisdom. Art, books, and words. With each other, friends, and family from different parts of the world.

I celebrated the day with three of my friends: Georgia Houpis, Martha Sakelariou, Paula Alexopulos.  We had fun and enjoyed Shrimp Saganaki with Feta and Ouzo, Tyropites, Fava Santorini’s, baked cheese with homemade orange marmalade. Ouzo pulled all the flavors together and brought back wonderful memories of Greek summers. The Melomacarouna and Kourambiethers and the freezing weather, grounded us to the season again.

What began as a hectic and challenging day due to some unexpected situations turned into an enjoyable, mellow afternoon.

Stay connected. Go to Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress. Lots more of sharing to come. Great relationships to be nurtured. Things to be learned.  Check out the hash tags below:

Facebook: #Greek Dinner Around the World

Instagram: #GreekDinner



Open a bottle of ouzo or Greek wine. Put some Greek music on. Share photos to your social media, using hash tags.   Keep the celebration going. I share below my Shrimp recipe which is included in my soon-to-be-published book, Sailing to Ithaca: A Year’s Journey, Nurturing Body and Soul. I hope you’ll try it, because I know you will love this dish.:)


Shrimp Flambe with Feta and Ouzo (Garides Saganaki)

Saganaki refers to some Greek recipes, specifically of hard cheese and shrimp, made in   a specific two-handled shallow heavy pan, called Sagani.  Of course, any heavy-bottom     skillet will do.

Such dishes are usually served as appetizers or as part of a meal.The process is more or less the same for both cheese and shrimp: after searing, drench with ouzo or cognac and ignite until flames die.

This creates a dramatic presentation, especially when OPA is exclaimed. Ancient as the Odyssey, OPA is voiced with joy and exuberance so as to express enthusiasm in life’s amusing times, in celebrations as well as surprises.


4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2-3 minced or pureed garlic cloves

½ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled (heads and tails on), rinsed, and dried (about 15-16)

Freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/3 pound crumbled firm Greek feta cheese

3 tablespoons ouzo (found in Greek food markets)

Serve with ouzo or wine, Kalamata olives, and fresh, crusty bread.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

  1. Combine in glass container 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 2-3 minced or pureed garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes (or to taste), freshly ground pepper, and shrimp. Toss to coat, cover and refrigerate for few hours or a day.
  2. When ready to serve, dissolve tomato paste in 1 tablespoon water. Crumble feta. Measure ouzo. Have them at hand.
  3. Heat a 10-12-inch skillet over medium-high temperature. Add seasoned shrimp and spread flat. As soon as they become pink on the bottom (not even a minute) turn and continue. They should be pink on the outside and barely opaque throughout, about 2-3 minutes all together, depending on their size. Do not overcook; they will continue cooking.
  4. Add the tomato paste and toss to blend well.
  5. Stir in 1/3 pound crumbled feta and cook for 1 minute, until feta softens.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons ouzo and carefully ignite. Shout OPA!!!! Toss and turn shrimp to coat, allowing the flames to subside. Remove from heat, and serve immediately with crusty bread as appetizer.


Share in the comments something you appreciate from the Greek culture. Subscribe and share a link, so we stay connected in more ways than one!

Thank you for coming over!



About the Author

Katina Vaselopulos

Originally from Greece, Katina Vaselopulos and her husband, have made their home in Chicago for the past 47 years. Their four children and nine grandchildren offer countless adventures. Katina also enjoys cooking and baking, teaching and learning, reading and writing. Her soon-to-be-published book, Sailing Toward Ithaca, takes the reader on a journey through one year of her life. She invites the readers along, to sail through life’s journey open to all possibilities and to nurture relationships with self, others, and God by striving for self-knowledge and inner growth. Other projects include What Is Cooking in Niles, a cookbook of Greek cuisine, and a thesis, “Dostoyevsky’s Major Novels: Polemics against Liberal Thought,” for which she received high honors at Northeastern University of Illinois.


  1. I would love to share that dish with you Katina! Thank you for this post! :)

  2. georgia

    Great blog and recipe! Thanks for Sharing

    • How great seing you here, Georgia! Grateful for your photography talents. Could not make the video work…just came as an image! :)xxx

  3. My pleasure! Thank you! Enjoy! OPA!

  4. My pleasure, Krystina! Enjoy! OPA!!!!!


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