Tuesday, June 25, 2013

【Spanish Tapa】Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimps)

By popular demand, I’m posting my Gambas al Ajillo recipe, requested by all those who have seen my post on the Spanish dinner on my Facebook Fan Page. It’s quick, delicious and definitely a crowd-pleaser.  Gambas al Ajillo is the Spanish for “shrimps with garlic”.  It’s a very popular tapa you can almost find on the menu in any Spanish restaurant.  Mr. Bear loves this a lot, so it has become one of my go-to recipes when I don’t have too much time to cook.  Goes really well with a slice of baguette, or you can toss it with your favourite pasta to make it into an oil-based pasta dish. 

Serves 4
Difficulty: Easy

1 tablespoon olive oil
50g unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped (not shown in picture)
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 teaspoon chili flakes
450g raw shrimps – I used medium-sized shrimps, about 20-25 count
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons Sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped

1. Clean, peel and devein the shrimps, leaving tails intact.  Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat.  Add both chopped and sliced garlic and chili flakes, sauté until fragrant.
3. Increase the heat to high and add shrimps, paprika, lemon juice and sherry.  Saute until shrimps turn pink. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Transfer the shrimp to a plate and sprinkle parsley before serving. 

1. To clean the shrimps, add about a teaspoon of salt, mix well and rinse it under running water.  Salt kills the bacteria on the outside of the shrimps.
2. I like to devein my shrimps before cooking because I’m not particularly fond of the idea of eating the sand and dirt the shrimp ate just before it died.  Some people run a knife along the shrimp’s back to make a slit and remove the vein, but I like to do it with a toothpick.  This is a simple technique I learned from a cooking class I attended before.  Pierce the shrimp just slightly beneath the vein about 1/3 down the length of the shrimp, then gently pull up with your finger on the toothpick to remove the vein.  If the vein breaks, insert the toothpick again a little further down the back towards the tail.  I find this method much faster and you can even do this with the shells on, just insert a toothpick between shell segments.  It works on shrimps and prawns of all sizes as well!
3. Use about 80g of (dry) pasta per person if you want to make it a pasta dish.

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