Gambas Al Ajillo – Garlic Shrimp

When I visit Barcelona I always look forward to experiencing the Tapas or small plates that are available in the small bars and restaurants.  One dish that you will find on just about every menu is this sautéed shrimp in garlic olive oil.  Naturally, if you source good fresh shrimp (I usually use gulf shrimp) and a good quality Spanish olive oil the finished dish will be delicious.  My favorite Spanish olive oil is made by Casas De Hualdo, which makes single varietal, estate-grown, freshly pressed olive oils that have a superb flavor.  I choose the olive oil made with Cornicabra olives, which is frequently used in a variety of Tapas preparations.  Another key to this dish is the sherry vinegar.  Make sure you have some good bread on hand to soak up the flavored olive oil to eat along with the shrimp.

1 pound large shrimp peeled and de-veined

12 – Cloves of Garlic  – 6 cloves minced, 6 cloves sliced

8 Tablespoon – Olive Oil – I use Casas De Hualdo Cornicabra olive oil

½ teaspoon – Old Bay Seasoning (or substitute one bay leaf)

½ teaspoon- salt

1 Tablespoon – red pepper flakes (or to taste if you like it less spicy)

2 teaspoon – Sherry Vinegar (Known as Vinagre de Jerez in Spain)

1 teaspoon – fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoon – Spanish Paprika (or substitute sweet paprika)

2 Tablespoon – Chopped Fresh Parsley – 1T in the dish, 1T as a garnish

Finely mince half of the garlic cloves and place in a large skillet with the olive oil and heat over medium-low heat to allow the garlic to flavor the oil.  Stir occasionally until the garlic is just turning golden brown.  Add the remaining 6 cloves of sliced garlic to the skillet.  Add shrimp, old bay seasoning and red pepper flakes to the skillet, and let cook for about a minute or until the garlic is golden brown.  Be sure not to burn the garlic because it will turn the flavor bitter.  Sprinkle the paprika over the shrimp and cook for 20 seconds more.  Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sherry vinegar, lemon, and 1T parsley.  Stir the shrimp constantly in the oil to get them to cook through about 30 seconds.  You will see the shrimp change color to show they are cooked.  Make sure that you heat the oil hot enough so that it is bubbling.  When the shrimp is cooked bring the frying pan directly to the table to serve and mop up with bread.  Sprinkle the remaining 1T of parsley over the dish and season with ½ teaspoon of salt or to taste.

Enjoy our Tapas! Playlist by Joe McKesson below!