This dish is near and dear to my heart. It brings back memories of the incredible trip my husband Pete and I took to Spain in 2010 for our five-year anniversary. It was quite an adventure filled with plenty of amazing sites, culture and of course, food. Our trip included some time in San Sebastian, a picturesque seaside town and Spain’s culinary capital. With 15 Michelin stars, San Sebastian is one of the top foodie destinations in the world.
We also got to visit La Boqueria, the famous market in Barcelona that’s every foodie’s dream. But probably my favorite memory from the trip is of the late night strolls down La Rambla in Barcelona enjoying a wide variety of tapas, or small plates, at casual eateries. Gambas Al Ajillo, or Garlic Shrimp, is one of the most common tapas dishes in Spain and it also happens to be one of my favorites.
It’s a simple dish that uses just a few ingredients but is packed with so much flavor. Fresh shrimp are sautéed in olive oil that is infused with garlic and chilies. The dish is traditionally cooked in cazuelas, earthenware dishes that are placed directly on the grill. A cast-iron skillet works just as well.
This dish is packed with beneficial nutrients as well as flavor. Olive oil provides heart healthy
monounsaturated fats and the shrimp add plenty of protein, iron, Vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Be sure to serve this dish with lots of crusty bread to soak up the delicious, garlicky sauce.
For an authentic Spanish experience, serve it with my Pan con Tomate or Tomato Bread.
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon sweet Spanish paprika
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Pour the oil into a large sauté pan and add the garlic and chili flakes. Turn the heat up to medium high. As the pan heats up, the oil will slowly get infused with the flavor of the garlic and chili (do not let the garlic brown). Once the oil is hot and the garlic is fragrant, add the shrimp to the pan. Season them with the paprika, salt and pepper. Cook the shrimp about 2 minutes, until they just turn pink, stirring often. Add the sherry and lemon juice and cook another 2-3 minutes until the liquid is reduced and shrimp are cooked. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Serve with crusty bread for soaking up all of the delicious sauce.