Food & Drink

Gambas al Ajillo

During our visit this week to the new Finca Pintxos Bar, my wife and I enjoyed a traditional Spanish dish called gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic). Last week I shared a simple recipe for butter poached prawns; this one is just as easy and tasty.


And with shrimp being cheaper than beef or pork these days, this can be part of an economical meal. Add a little Spanish flare to your dinner table with this garlicky dish. 


1 1/2 lbs. Medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined

Kosher salt

1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic

1 1/4 cups extra-virgin olive oil

1 small dried hot red chile, seeded and crumbled

1/2 cup minced parsley

2 Tbsp dry sherry, such as manzanilla

1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest from one lemon

A few fresh basil leaves (optional)

Crusty bread, for serving


  1. In a large bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a 9- to 10-inch enameled cast-iron skillet or heavy duty non-stick skillet, combine the garlic and olive oil and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is very fragrant and just starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t burn the garlic! 
  3. Add the chile and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook over moderately low heat, stirring and turning the shrimp occasionally, until barely pink, about 5 minutes.
  5. Stir in the parsley, sherry, lemon zest and a generous pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and let stand until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with lemon wedges and (optional) fresh basil.

Serve with crusty bread for soaking up the garlicky broth. 

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