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Garlic shrimp (Gambas al ajillo)

This is a recipe from the famed José Andrés of El Buli restaurant. It is a very simple recipe but the simplicity does belie its wonderful flavor.

Tapas are considered by many to be the perfect food. One bite should be amazing, the perfect explosion of flavor, texture and visually perfect. Tapas is probably one of my favorite foods, and this dish is one of my favorites.

Gambas la ajillo are possibly one of the most famed tapa in Spain. Fresh prawns, caught on the same morning and never frozen are transformed to this wonderful dish in probably every bar. They make for that perfect bite with a lovely Spanish white wine.

The succulent, quick fried shrimp are loaded wit garlic, enough to keep the vampires away, and the perfect hint of chili. This is a tapas that I can munch on all evening sitting on the sidewalks of Spain as long as there is still chilled wine in the bottle.

This is a classic Tapas cookbook from one of the masters in the art. Loaded with recipes this is a book that takes you deep into the art of tapas, cold, warm and every other variation. The author has also paired with other renown chefs, José Andrés in this recipe, to bring us some amazing recipes. This is the tapas cookbook you want on your shelf.

For more recipes from this amazing cookbook, click here.


4 tablespoons olive oil

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

1 lb large shrimp, peeled but tail-on if preferred, and de-veined

1 dried red chili

1 tablespoon brandy

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon parsley, minced for garnish

Heat the oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat, one that will hold the shrimp in a single layer if possible. Add the garlic and chili and fry for 1 minute till a light golden.

Add the shrimp and sauté without turning for 2 minutes and flip and fry again for 2 minutes. Do not be tempted to toss the shrimp in-between.

Add the brandy and salt toss well and cook for 1 minute. Taste and adjust salt if needed.

Serve immediately garnished with parsley.

NOTE: This is a dish that has to served as soon as it is cooked. The trick to the recipe is the freshness, both of the seafood and from the stove. Do not make ahead, the shrimp turn rubbery and the dish is ruined.

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