Gambas al ajillo is a classic Spanish dish that originated in the southern region of Andalusia. It is believed that the dish was invented by fishermen who used readily available ingredients to create a quick and easy meal while out at sea. Today, gambas al ajillo is a popular tapa, or appetizer, in Spain and can be found in many Spanish restaurants around the world. Its simplicity and delicious flavor have made it a beloved dish among seafood lovers.
To prepare gambas al ajillo, the Spaniards usually use an utensil called “casuela” – this is the most traditional method. Casuela is a clay mold that can be used both on a gas burner and for baking in the oven. Be sure to let this mold cool before washing, otherwise it may crack due to the rapid temperature change. A deep-frying pan can be used in place of the casuela in this recipe, but transfer the ingredients to a prettier warmed dish before serving.
In Andalusia, gambas al ajillo is often served as a tapa, or small appetizer dish, and is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. The dish is simple to prepare, but the combination of garlic, chili, and olive oil creates a flavor explosion that is sure to impress your guests. Give it a try and see for yourself why gambas al ajillo is a beloved Spanish classic.
- 900 gr. peeled fresh white shrimp
- 180 ml. olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, peeled and sliced
- 1 large dried hot chili pepper, thinly sliced with seeds
- A pinch of salt
How to prepare gambas al ajillo
Step 1. Place the casuela over medium heat. Pour in the olive oil.
Step 2. Add the sliced garlic to the hot oil and sauté until it turns golden brown. This should take about 1-2 minutes.
Step 3. Next, add the thinly sliced chili pepper to the pan and let it sit for a minute.
Step 4. Turn off the heat as soon as the garlic starts to brown. Overcooking the garlic will make it bitter, so be careful not to let it burn.
Step 5. Add the peeled shrimp to the pan and stir to coat them in the garlic and chili oil. Let the shrimp cook for about 2 minutes until they turn pink and are cooked through.
Step 6. Add a pinch of salt to the pan and give everything a good stir.
Step 7. Serve the gambas al ajillo hot with some crusty bread to soak up all the delicious garlic and chili oil.