The Return of the Dinner Party

A few years back, laid low by a never diagnosed malady, I watched a Diners, Drive-ins and Dives’ marathon on the Food Chanel. The experience made me an HGTV junkie, a devotee who’s listened to hundreds of people yearning for a home or vacation spot offering “an open concept that’s great for entertaining.” I keep wondering who these people are “entertaining,” especially if they’re moving thousands of miles away from everyone they ever knew. I also feel guilty because I’ve not volunteered to help these would-be hosts find the recipes they need. There’s a reason.

Minus birthdays and holidays, dinner parties are an endangered species, as are the doable recipes collected and cherished in the decades before the invention of the assorted timesavers cluttering the modern kitchen.

Don’t be confused, however. I’m not lobbying for the return of the cream-of-mushroom- soup- based casseroles of yore. Instead, I’ll be searching  for dishes that are as timely and they are tasty. It’s a continuing quest, and I’ll be posting periodic updates. Consider this as the first in an ongoing series.

Baked Shrimp with Scallions, Tomatoes and Feta

4 servings

4 scallions, white and green parts chopped.

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

one 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes in juice

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or oregano

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add scallions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until scallions wilt, about two minutes. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a boil. Cook until tomato juices thicken, about five minutes. Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.

Remove from the heat and stir in shrimp. Sprinkle with feta cheese. 

Bake until cheese melts and shrimp are firm and opaque, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with dill and serve hot.

From “The simpler the better: sensational one-dish meals” by Leslie Revsin with Rick Rodgers, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2005

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