I had shied away from this recipe (from How Easy is That?) for a long time because seafood + tomatoes + cheese just sounded like a hot mess to me. Plus, fennel.
I substituted a leek for the fennel, and omitted the Pernod altogether (but not before buying a bottle and discovering it smelled like anise – oops – does anyone want a bottle of Pernod?). But I kept everything else the same, and I was pleasantly surprised. I bought Texas gulf shrimp and served it over Texas rice, which I’m sure made the whole dish taste better. The tomatoes just added a little tang and sweetness, and much needed liquid without making the whole dish fishier. The feta was just perfect, especially when it melted just a little.
The stove is still out of order, but I used the brown/saute setting on the slow cooker to saute the leeks and onion, and then simmer the tomatoes with them. I finished the whole thing off in the oven. I love the ovens, but I’m still getting used to using them, so I’m glad I caught this when it was browned just so. I used the rice cooker for the rice, which isn’t a part of the recipe, but I thought it would play well with the other ingredients, and it did. The whole thing was a great success, and the hardest part was peeling the shrimp. I’ll definitely make it again.
On a side note, do you know how many things, food and otherwise, are in the shape of Texas, or have the shape of Texas on their packaging? A LOT. My three-year-old is so excited every time we see it: “I see TEXAS, Mommy!” It’s so cute – I’ll try to catch him saying it on video. It’s like a preschooler’s version of Where’s Waldo, except that Waldo is virtually everywhere.