This is a recipe of my mother in law, who is an opiniated cook. When she cooks anything from the tradition of Smyrna she keeps to the letter of family recipes; there is only one way to prepare soutzoukakia or imam. Deviations are not acceptable: ‘why do the call it soutzoukakia if they add bread in the minced meat?’ There is always a hint of discredit in quotes like that.
When the obligation of tradition does not apply, she lets her taste of spicy and well defined flavours prevail, as I hope you will find out in the following recipe.
- 500g shrimps shelled and deveined (fresh or frozen)
- 1 medium onion (about 120g), finely chopped
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
- 6 Tbsp parsley, finely chopped ( plus 1 Tbsp for the garnish)
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1,5 cup feta, crumbled
Serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main dish.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and the chilli flakes and cook stirring regularly for about 5-8 minutes, until the onion is soft and lightly golden.
Add the parsley, the mustard powder and the garlic and stir well for about 1 minute.
Add the wine, the sugar, the 2 Tbsp of the olive oil and gently simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Arrange the shrimps in a baking dish large enough to fit them tightly in one layer. Spread the onion mixture on top and bake for ten minutes.
Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the shrimps and bake for another 10 minutes until the gratin has a nice golden colour.
Garnish with 1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley and serve warm with fresh sourdough bread and a green salad on the side.