It takes about 15 minutes to make this delicious Spanish garlic shrimp but it tastes like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen.
15 Minute Spanish Garlic Shrimp Tapa
Every meal should start with a tapa and one of Spain’s favorite tapas is gambas al ajillo, aka garlic shrimp.
What I love about this appetizer is that it makes entertaining a breeze. I always keep a bag of peeled, deveined shrimp in my freezer (of course, fresh is better). My guests, and especially my husband, make sure there are no leftovers.
Everything is better with garlic, don’t you think? I’ve eaten things that I normally wouldn’t only because they were prepared with lots of garlic. To name a few:
- Frog legs
Yes, lucky for my husband, I dislike shrimp. It’s a field day for him in the event that I prepare it. I’m fine with scooping up the sauce like in marinated spicy shrimp dish because it is super delicious.
Even better for dipping bread is this Spanish sauce of garlic, lemon, and dry sherry. So much so, it was gone before I even served it.
Do you taste your food while cooking? I usually don’t (wouldn’t suggest this for the beginner cooks) but I couldn’t resist the fragrance of this garlic shrimp.
My fresh baked bread came out of the oven hot and soft on the inside with a wonderful crispy crust. I just had to tear a piece and soak it in the sauce, and the next piece, and then the next…I mean, who needs shrimp anyway?
The Spanish use lots of garlic for this recipe, like ten cloves or more. Because garlic makes lonely, I only used two large cloves and it was perfect. But by all means, go for ten. Garlic is good for you; it wards off illness (and vampires, ha!) and also increases strength and endurance.
For the sake of authenticity, as well as to make sure you don’t reek like you bathed in garlic, I’m listing five cloves in my ingredients. Just know you can adjust it the way you like it.
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1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it hot)
1 pound raw peeled and deveined shrimp, about 25 per pound
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup dry sherry (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley leaves
~ Free Tip ~
Use Spanish brandy instead of dry sherry. Substitute cayenne pepper with Spanish paprika and red pepper flakes. Cook shrimp with the shell on, like the Spanish do.
If using frozen shrimp, defrost. Rinse shrimp under cold water and pat dry.
In a non-stick pan or cast iron skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. I love my skillet and cook so many dishes in it, as you may have noticed. Amazon has an awesome deal right now – you should totally take advantage!
Add the garlic and cayenne pepper and sauté until fragrant, about one minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic!
Next, add the shrimp, lemon juice, and sherry and increase the heat to medium-high.
Stir well, then sauté turning them once until the shrimp turn pink and curl – about 3-4 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Transfer shrimp with oil and sauce to a serving plate or serve right from the pan. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with fresh bread.
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