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Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings
  • Category: appetizer
  • Method: saute
  • Cuisine: Spanish


Crusty sliced bread, such Italian or French bread

Extra virgin olive oil, to brush on bread

1 pound large, uncooked shrimp (1620 per pound)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon paprika

1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup fresh garlic sliced thin (68 good sized cloves)

Good pinch red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicier)

2 tablespoons cognac

1 teaspoon fine, fresh lemon zest

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, minced and divided


Brush the crusty bread slices with oil and either cook on a ribbed grill pan or broil for a few minutes to brown. Set aside.

Peel the shrimp, leaving on the tail piece and lay out on a plate.

Sprinkle the salt over the shrimp and let the shrimp sit for ten minutes, then sprinkle on the paprika.

Heat a cast iron skillet to low and add the olive oil. Let the oil heat up then add the garlic and red pepper flakes.

Cook this on low for about ten minutes or just before the garlic starts to turn brown.

Add the shrimp in a single layer and increase the heat just slightly hotter than low. Cook, turning once, for about 6-8 minutes. They should have started to turn pink but not be fully cooked yet.

Keep the burner on and add the cognac, lemon zest, pepper and all but a tablespoon of the minced parsley. Heat for one minute then turn off burner and let shrimp sit in this mixture for up to five more minutes or until cooked through.

Remove shrimp to a serving bowl, pour over the oil mixture from the pan and sprinkle the remaining parsley over the top. Serve with the crusty bread to soak up the liquid.

Keywords: shrimp, garlic