Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic shrimp) is a classic Spanish tapas. Plump, sweet shrimp and a subtle underlying flavour of garlic are the key to this tasty dish. Serve with the freshest crusty bread you can get, because you are going to want to soak up all the delicious sauce!
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 12-18 olives (Manzanilla, Gordal or your favourite variety)
- 24 large wild shrimp (about 1 pound), shell on or peeled (shells reserved)
- 1 jalapeño pepper, finely diced (seeds optional)
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- Salt to taste
Pour olive oil into a large skillet, set over medium-low to low heat, then add smashed garlic, pepper flakes & 1/4 tsp salt. (If peeling shrimp before cooking, add shrimp shells to skillet as well).
Cook until garlic is pale golden brown, and oil is aromatic, about 10 minutes. (Oil should be lightly bubbling while cooking). When ready, strain through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl. Discard pepper flakes, garlic (& shells).
Return flavoured oil to skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add sliced garlic & olives, then cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is a pale golden brown, about 1 minute.
Add shrimp & jalapeño, then cook, tossing and stirring until shrimp are barely cooked through, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the white wine & lemon juice, then cook for another minute. Season to taste with salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve.
** Note: cooking the shrimp with the shell on, adds flavour to the sauce and poaches the shrimp beautifully… however it is messier to eat! **
*** If you decide to peel the shrimp first, reserve the shells and add to olive oils, salt & pepper flakes to infuse the oil ***
In addition to this Gambas al Ajillo recipe, you can find more of my favourite shrimp recipes here.
Cooked and served in my Hestan Culinary CopperBond 3.5 qt. Sauteuse