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Traditional garlic shrimp

Gambas al ajillo

Photography by Pablo de Loy

 

This is the ultimate tapa – there is no other dish with greater simplicity, speed of cooking, or reward for your taste buds. Be sure to include a lot of bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

Serves 4


4 tablespoons of Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
20 large shrimps (about 1 pound)
1 guindilla chili pepper (or your favorite dried chili pepper)
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
Salt to taste

In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-to-high flame. Sauté the garlic cloves until browned, about 2 minutes.

Add the shrimp along with the chili pepper. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn over the shrimp and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour in the brandy and cook for another minute. Sprinkle with the parsley, add salt to taste, and serve.

José’s tips
This tapa depends on great shrimp. You can use previously frozen shrimp, if that’s all that is available. But if you’re able to find fresh shrimp from North Carolina or the Gulf of Mexico, or even the small red Maine shrimp that are available for a short time around January, you’ll make a dish you’ll never forget.