Sizzling Garlic Shrimp
gambas al ajillo
The secret to success with garlic shrimp is very fragrant olive oil that is not too heavy in texture, and a cooking vessel that conducts heat slowly and can be presented at the table for dipping bread. Think deep cast-enamel skillet.
• 1¼ pounds small shrimp, peeled and deveined
• Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
• 1 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
• 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
• ½ small dry red chile, such as arbol, crumbled
• 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
• Country bread, for serving
1. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, then sprinkle salt over them.
2. Place the olive oil and garlic in a 10- to 11-inch earthenware cazuela and heat over medium-low heat until the oil shimmers and the garlic begins to sizzle gently. Cook until the garlic is very fragrant but not colored, 2 to 3 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary. Add the chile and stir for a few seconds. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they just begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.
3. Season with salt to taste, stir in the parsley and cook for a few seconds longer. Serve the shrimp in the cazuela with plenty of French bread alongside. Serves 4 or 5 as a tapa, 2 or 3 as a light main course.
Variations: This dish can be made with large shrimp, in which case I like to cook them in their shells to preserve their texture. You can also prepare mushrooms, clams or small pieces of chicken the same way.
Source: Recipes © 2005 from The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen. Featuring over 300 unique recipes, The New Spanish Table protrays the food and culture of Spain at its most vibrant. The perfect pairing for delicious Spanish wines! (Workman Publishing Co. Inc.)