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Although most folks don’t associate seafood with the Midwest, fresh saltwater shrimp are being farmed all across the region.

Midwestern shrimp farmers seek to provide a fresher and more sustainable product than what’s imported from overseas or shipped halfway across the nation. Iowa alone has more than 60 fish and shrimp farms, for instance, and Missouri’s shrimp farms include KC Shrimp in Kansas City (facebook.com/kcshrimp); Triple J Farms in Foristell, Missouri (triplejfarmsstl.com); and Circle Sea Shrimp Farm in Stella, Missouri (facebook.com/circleseashrimp). Such businesses raise shrimp in artificial saltwater environments that mimic the crustaceans’ natural habitats.

This recipe makes the most of high-quality local shrimp. It’s a version of a dish called garides tourkolimano (named for a port town on the coast of Greece). The dish typically forms part of a larger mezze, or collection of small plates, accompanied by a glass of wine.

Much of its flavor comes from garlic, tomatoes, feta and fresh herbs; I’ve amended it here to include some fun ingredients like Peppadew peppers and sherry vinegar. The tomato-fennel stew has a subtle heat from the peppers, creaminess from the cheese, a pop of acidity from the vinegar and bright, herbal flavor from fresh mint. Pile on the mint and thank me later. 

Greek-Style Shrimp With Tomato-Fennel Stew

I prefer to use heirloom tomatoes for the stew, as they tend to be sweeter and come in a variety of beautiful colors.

Serves 4 to 6

Tomato-Fennel Stew

  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • fennel bulb, julienned
  • yellow onion, julienned
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup semidry white wine
  • 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Peppadew peppers, roughly chopped
  • tsp honey
  • tsp sherry vinegar
  • Tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped

Greek-Style Shrimp

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails-on optional
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • 3 Tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup feta cheese
  • olive oil, to taste

Preparation – Tomato-Fennel Stew | In a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add fennel, onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes, until a little caramelization develops on fennel and onion. Add white wine, tomatoes and Peppadew peppers, and stir to deglaze skillet. Reduce heat to low, and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes more. Add honey, sherry vinegar and oregano, and stir to combine; simmer for 1 to 2 minutes more. Cover stew until shrimp are ready to serve.

Preparation – Greek-Style Shrimp | In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Add shrimp and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until shrimp are pink throughout, approximately 5 minutes.

To Serve | Add shrimp to warm stew, and stir to combine. Divide stew between 4 to 6 serving bowls, and garnish with chopped mint, cheese and olive oil to taste. Serve warm.

Amanda Elliott serves as chef at Peachtree Catering (peachtreebanquet.com) in Columbia, Missouri, and authors the website Rustic Supper (rusticsupper.com), where she shares recipes centered on the idea of the communal table and embracing the heritage of food through travel. She also hosts a series of pop-up dinners in Columbia called Sunday Suppers.

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