Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cooking With Ancient Grains

Greek Millet Saganaki with Shrimp and Ouzo


1¼ cups water
¾ cup millet
1 bay leaf
Pinch of fine sea salt


1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion (1 small)
1 clove garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
1 small hot green chili, minced (optional)
¼ tsp fine sea salt
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 (28-oz) BPA-free can whole tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ cup green pimiento-stuffed olives, halved if large
4 oz coarsely crumbled Greek feta cheese (about 1 cup), preferably made from sheep’s milk


1 lb jumbo shell-on shrimp from a reputable fishmonger, deveined and patted dry (or substitute firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces)
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
⅓ cup ouzo or other anise-flavored liqueur
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To prepare the millet, bring the water, millet, bay leaf, and salt to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan.

Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover, remove the bay leaf and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the saganaki. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion, garlic, chili and salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onion softens and turns light golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until it darkens, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the pepper; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Decrease the heat to maintain a light boil and cook, uncovered, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the millet and green olives.

Taste for salt and pepper and adjust (keeping in mind that olives and feta cheese are typically salty).

Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle with the feta and cover to allow the cheese to soften.

To prepare the shrimp (or tofu), season them with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Add the shrimp. Cook, undisturbed, until the shrimp or tofu pieces turn golden, 1 to 2 minutes, and then flip them with a spatula and cook until the shrimp are just opaque throughout or the tofu has warmed through, 1 to 2 more minutes, depending on the size.

Add the ouzo and cook until it’s syrupy, about 30 seconds. Using a spatula, briskly remove the shrimp from the pan and arrange on top of the millet.

Sprinkle with the parsley and serve at once.

All recipes adapted from Simply Ancient Grains or Ancient Grains for Modern Meals, by Maria Speck, courtesy of Ten Speed Press.