Friday, April 19, 2013

Gambas al Ajillo

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This is the last recipe from our Spanish Tiny Dinner Party. If you haven't already done so, check out our other Spanish recipes: Patatas Bravastortilla española, and Espinaca con Garbanzos!

When I studied abroad in Spain in 2006, I became friends with this fantastic group of girls. We all lived with host families and would usually have dinner at home and then would meet up at night to botellón. Another common evening activity was to meet up at one of our favorite Spanish tapas places for dinner. At the time, we could get a couple tapas for € 1-2 each. If you find yourself on a trip to Sevilla, my favorite tapas places are:  

No matter which Spanish tapas places I go to, my favorite tapa is Gambas al Ajillo- or shrimp sauteed in garlic with red chilli flakes and brandy. It is best served with a hunk of crusty baguette to dip in the oil afterwards. When we decided to do this tiny dinner party, I knew right away that I wanted to make this dish! My favorite recipe is from DC-based Spanish Chef, Jose Andres' book, Tapas, A Taste of Spain in America

For the Gambas al Ajillo you will need: 

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic- peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound of raw fresh shrimp - peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of brandy 
  • salt to taste 

First do your prep, dice the onion into tiny pieces and mince the garlic. We recommend using fresh shrimp, but if you use frozen shrimp, make sure to let it completely defrost. Clean and dry the shrimp. If you did not buy deveined shrimp, you will need to peel and remove the vein. Instructions on how to do that here.  

Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Then add the chopped onions and saute until they are transluscent. 

Then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and saute until the garlic is light brown and aromatic.

Make sure all of your shrimp have been cleaned, peeled, deveined, and patted dry. Then add the raw shrimp into the pan with the garlic, onions, and red pepper. Try to arrange the shrimp so that they do not lay on top of each other and each one touches the bottom of the pan. 

Cook the shrimp until they turn pink halfway up the side. This usually takes 2-3 minutes. Then turn the shrimp over and cook until they are completely pink and opaque- another two to three minutes.

Lastly, add 1 tablespoon of brandy into the pan and mix it around the pan to coat the shrimp. Cook for an additional 30 seconds and remove from the heat. Spaniards traditionally serve this in a shallow clay dish with lots of bread to soak up the extra olive oil! If you haven't already seen the other dishes from our tiny dinner party, check out the Patatas Bravas, Tortilla Española, and Espinaca con Garbanzos!

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