After a few days in the sun drenched, idyllic Greek islands, you learn the best way to prepare seafood - catch it fresh, throw it on the grill, and bring it to the table while it is still sizzling. That is how they do it in the little shacks along the beach where you can sit and eat while gazing out at the pristine blue Aegean sea. What more can one ask for?
Life moves at a slow pace in the islands, whether you are lazing on the beach, wandering through little village streets lined with bougainvillea blossoms or stepping into a cool, dimly lit church. At the end of the day there is always a taverna where you can enjoy a glass of ouzo and an unforgettable seafood dinner.
Fresh seafood doesn't need much to make it taste good. A sprinkle of salt, a dusting of oregano, a scatter of chopped garlic, along with a splash of olive oil and lemon juice is all the treatment it got most of the time. Every once in a while though, we would come across a dish with Indian echoes. They had tantalizing glimpses of cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg along with tomatoes, onions, garlic and other seasonings. It seemed like a perfect blend of some very different flavors.
In my recipe, cumin and black pepper blend well with oregano and paprika to create a marinade that adds robust flavor without overpowering the delicate seafood. While it tastes best grilled, you can also pan fry it or bake it in the oven.
You can throw in other types of seafood such as scallops, mussels, squid or even lobster. The marinade also works well with chicken, lamb or pork. Serve with a Greek salad, Tzatziki and warm pita bread to complete the experience!
1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb thick cut fish fillet such as Cod, Halibut or Sea Bass
1 medium cooking onion, peeled and quartered
12 cloves garlic
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup each: olive oil, lemon juice, white wine vinegar
1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
Salt to taste
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp each: toasted crushed cumin seeds, smoked paprika, ground black pepper
Place shrimp and fish separately in 2 large mixing bowls. Combine all remaining ingredients in food processor until minced. Transfer to a small bowl. Pour half over shrimp, toss shrimp well to coat.
Pour remaining half of marinade over top of fish, spreading to cover evenly.
Cover bowls and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or longer.
When ready to grill, preheat barbecue to medium. Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on grill. Place fish fillets on grill.
Grill, covered for about 3-4 min per side for shrimp and about 8-10 min per side for fish, flipping gently once, until shrimp turn pink and fish flakes easily.
Serve with wedges of lemon.