Gambas al Ajillo, or Garlic Shrimp is one of the most popular tapas in Spain. Fresh garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and sherry makes a rich garlicky sauce for the shrimp. Our version adds Spanish paprika and turns gives the sauce a deep red color, and a rich smoky, spicy flavor.
- 1 lb shrimp, 20-25 count to a pound
- 2-3 Tbsp virgin olive oil
- 2-4 medium cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp Spanish paprika
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2-3 oz of cognac or dry sherry
- 3 tsp fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
- 1 lemon
- Peel the shrimp. Leave tails on to make it easier to pick up and hold. Rinse and drain or pat dry. Set aside.
- Peel the garlic and mince. Rinse a few sprigs of parsley and pat dry with a paper towel. Remove any large or tough stems from the parsley. Finely chop the parsley.
- Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for about one minute or until they begin to brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
- Raise the heat to medium high and add the shrimp, lemon juice, sherry or cognac and paprika. Stir well, then sauté, stirring briskly until the shrimp turn pink and curl – about 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a warm plate or serve right from the pan. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Serve with slices of fresh bread.
- Serves 4 for appetizers. If preparing for a main course, double the recipe, and prepare rice as a side dish.
Stir the shrimp to coat it in the garlic sauce, and cook on both sides. The shrimp turns pink when cooked.