Friday, November 13, 2009

Gambas Al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic)

Among the many “tapas” or Spanish savory dishes typically served with drinks at a bar, “gambas al ajillo” (shrimp in garlic) is one of the most common. It is very quick and easy to prepare and yet luscious and truly satisfying. The dish consists of shrimps that are sautéed quickly in olive oil that has been laced with lots of garlic and some red chilies. It is usually offered as an appetizer or served as a "tapa" in many restaurants in Spain. In the Philippines, probably because of the Spanish influence, the dish, simply called “gambas”, is also a favorite and priced appetizer (“pulutan”) usually served with drinks be in a bar, roadside eateries, fancy restaurants or even at home.

The dish is not limited to being just an appetizer or cocktail food however. It also goes very well with rice or pasta along with green salad to make a full meal. It is also perfect to be eaten with plenty of crusty bread which when dip, will suck up all the delicious pan juices full of wonderful garlicky flavor. When served to visitors, be prepared to explain on how it is cooked as they will surely ask right after the first bite. The delectable taste is really difficult to ignore. Perhaps, there is really something magical in the combination of shrimp and garlic in food as what I also attained in my Shrimp Garlic Pizza which I recently posted.

Considering that the preparation is almost fool proof, this is the right dish to cook for a beginner who wants to impress special guests. It does not require long time of preparation and only needs a few very common ingredients. For as long as really fresh shrimps are used, it can’t go wrong. A sure hit even for the most discriminating taste.

To prepare, the main ingredient of course is about half a kilo (500 grams) of shelled and deveined (if you require) shrimps. Take note, the weighing is done after all the shells and heads are removed. Should be thoroughly washed and drained. Prawns can be used as well but I believe medium sized shrimps are best for the dish.

The other ingredients are: 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 1 head garlic, peeled and minced, 1 pc mild chili pepper, minced, 1 tsp dried chili flakes, 1 tsp paprika hot or 2 tsp sweet Spanish paprika, ½ tsp salt or to taste and ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, minced. I used extra virgin olive oil for authenticity of the dish, but if you don’t have a readily available EVOO in your kitchen as most families in the Philippines, butter, should be a good substitute. :-)

This is a straight forward sautéing process. In a wok, sauté pan or heavy frying pan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Put in the garlic and sauté for about one minute or until it begin to brown. Be watchful not to burn it. You wouldn’t like it. :) Add the mild chili pepper and continue sautéing. Add the dried chili pepper flakes and paprika and continue stirring.

Immediately after, raise the heat to high and add the shrimps. Stir briskly and continue sautéing. Add the salt and continue stirring until the shrimps turn pink and cooked through. Probably about 3 minutes. Add the parsley and stir once more.

Remove from heat and transfer the shrimps with oil and sauce to a warm plate. I once used warm sizzling plate and it’s great. Serve immediately with your favorite drinks or rice or pasta or just bread. Any of which will come out superb.

It is truly delicious. The moment the shrimp reaches your mouth, you are bound to experience a magnificent taste. The flavor of garlic, olive oil, chili pepper and paprika is, as I said, magical. Enjoy! c“,)

1 comment:


Related Posts with Thumbnails