Although part of this dish is cooked in the oven (the peppers) and part on the stove (the shrimp), it comes together in harmony.
About the peppers: if you happen to have an upright jalapeno rack, such as the one made by Big Green Egg, this is the time to break it out. You want to cook them upright; otherwise the cheese will ooze out. Either way, remember to place them as such before cooking.
The shrimp, inspired by an excellent America’s Test Kitchen recipe, relies on a quick marinade that’s added to the pan once the tomatoes begin to release their juices. Take care not to overcook the shrimp—you don’t want them to be rubbery. If you want to use shell-on shrimp, you certainly can. Just have a stack of napkins on hand.
Since the sauce is quite juicy, consider serving alongside parsley-flecked orzo for a complete Mediterranean meal.
Note: This dish is every bit as enjoyable as an appetizer as it is as a main course. If you decide to serve it hors d’oeuvres-style, slice up some French bread to go with. You’ll need it to sop of the juices. Warm or room temperature: it works either way. You’ll need it to sop up the juices. Warm or room temperature: it works either way.
- For the Peppers:
- 8 ounces crumbled feta cheese
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons juice and 2 teaspoons zest from 1 lemon
- 3 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, divided
- 3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 15 small, sweet peppers, stemmed, seeds and membranes removed
- For the Shrimp:
- 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup dry vermouth
- 1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/3 cup)
- 8 ounces grape tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced mint leaves
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Combine feta, 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons oregano and 2 tablespoons parsley in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir and mash until smooth. Stuff peppers with feta and place upright in a jalapeno rack or a small, greased casserole dish. In the case of the latter, use foil, if necessary, to help keep them in place.
Place in the oven and roast until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add shrimp, garlic, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 3 tablespoons vermouth, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper to a medium bowl and toss to combine.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes and remaining 1/4 cup vermouth. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes have softened and formed a thin sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium and add shrimp. Stir, cover and cook until shrimp are opaque and pink, 3 to 8 minutes depending on size. Do not overcook. Remove pan from heat and sprinkle with mint, remaining oregano and remaining parsley. Serve immediately with peppers. The dish may be served at room temperature as well.