Do you want to cook like a Greek? Do you want to surprise your friends with an original Greek recipe full of flavors of the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea? Here is your chance: a SeaFood Youvetsi – ehm? A Sea Food Casserole or Stew. Name it whatever you like. It is a real Greek: fresh prawns, squid and mussels. And fresh tomatoes. And Orzo…
Greek food blogger Eugenia from Eat Yourself Greek sent us her wonderfully traditional SeaFood Youvetsi recipe. You are all welcome to try it – and even send us even a picture (HA!)
Foodblogger Eugenia from Eat Yourself Greek writes:
Out of all the Greek dishes, youvetsi is the one to bring up the most heart-warming memories of Sunday lunch. Family around the table chattering, glasses clinking and rich tomato sauce.
You have been visiting my youvetsi recipe a lot, so I thought I would give you a sea-side version for it. Once you prepare the sea food, this dish is made in a chiffy. Unlike the traditional youvetsi that requires baking, you can do it all in the pan. This youvetsi brings seafood in the spotlight and you can add or remove seafood to your liking.
You will probably be tempted to get a bag of frozen mix sea-food for this, resist tempation if possible. You can find some tips below for preparing the seafood yourself, or ask your fishmonger to do it. The key to success for this youvetsi is, of course, super fresh ingredients and a homemade prawn stock.
Recipe – Ingredients (4 servings)
10 medium prawns
2 medium sized squids
2 cloves of garlic
1 bag of mussels (no need to use them all)
400 gr orzo
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 large tomato, grated
a small bunch of parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1 large onion
The heads & shells of the prawns
1 shot of cognac
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh oregano
½ teaspoon of peppercorns
1lt of water
it keeps in the fridge for 2 days or you can freeze it
Preparing the seafood
Mussels, rinse under cold water and scrub them to get rid any barnacles. To debeard your mussels, hold the mussel with one hand and pull towards the hinge firmly.
It’s easier than you think, hold the head firmly and pull away from the mantle. Try to find the quil and pull out, it normally comes out very easily. Rinse the mantle thoroughly
Do keep the legs, by cutting just under the eyes. Once cut, push out the bic with your fingers.
If you haven’t done this before, watch this little video from the Sydney Fish market, it’s most helpful.
First remove the heads, gently twisting and pulling away from the body.
To shell them, peel off half the way down.
Then shake the tail to ease it off the body.
With the tip of a sharp knife, cut the top of the prawn to reveal that ‘black line’
Gently easy the vein off the body, it’s the prawn’s intestinal tract and if left on you get this gritty unsavoury taste.
Keep the heads for the stock!
Finely chop the onion and fry in a large pot for a couple of minutes.
Add in the prawns, cook for another couple of minutes and put off with cognac.
Add in the water, thyme, oregano and peppercorns.
Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes with a half lid on the pot.
The broth should condense to half.
Seafood needs very little time in the pan, so be careful to not overcook.
In a large frying pan, saute one shallot and a clove of garlic with a drizzle of olive oil then add your cleaned mussels to steam.
Any mussels that remained closed after steaming should be discarded.
Let them cool a bit and remove them from their shells.
Finely chop the onion, smash the clove of garlic and fry in a bit of olive oil until translucent
Put in the cleaned prawns and cut squid. These will only need 1-2 minutes in high heat, until they change colour.
Remove all seafood from your pan.
In the same pan, add in the orzo pasta, grated tomato, tomate paste and stir to combine.
Slowly add in your stock.
Bring to the boil and keep stirring, it will need about 20 minutes for the orzo to soften.
A couple of minutes before it’s ready add in all your seafood, mussels, prawns and squid and chopped parsley.
Give it all a good stir to mix and you are ready to serve.
In Eugenia’s original post in Eat Yourself Greek, you can also see how to clean a squid.
Eugenia is an excellent cook who like most Greeks grew up in a kitchen full of flavors watching mom and granny stirring, cleaning, chopping, cooking, baking, frying, doing all they could for a tasty meal for the family. Typical Greek.
Her recipes are traditional, however she delves “into the mysteries of the Greek kitchen a little deeper,” as she write in her food blog.
PS as I am a fresh herbs-freak I’d serve it with chopped parsley. oh! and I’d add a glass of ouzo in this SeaFood Orzotto – but I don’t cook traditionally, anyway.
if you want to send us (keeptalkinggrece AT gmail.com) a picture of your Seafood Youvetsi, please, no bigger than 640×480 px.