The traditional way to have this dish is in individual oven proof clay dishes. However, I don’t have any at home. I must remember to buy them on my next trip to Spain.
You can however, of course make this on the stovetop in a regular frying/saucepan, like I did today.
Gambas al Ajillo is a dish, typical from the region of Andalucia (Southern Spain) but that is widely eaten in other areas of the country, as well. It’s easy, quick to make and delicious. You only need five ingredients: shrimp, olive oil, garlic, and guindillas (cayenne peppers), and some sea salt.
- 1 kilo medium to small shrimp, peeled (with tail on is ok)
- 1 large head garlic, cut the cloves in lengthwise slices
- 3-4 guindillas (dried cayenne peppers, more or less to taste, of course), sliced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- coarse sea salt, to taste
- a bunch of parsley or cilantro, chopped (I prefer cilantro)
- In a large frying pan, heat up the oil over low heat with the garlic and guindillas.
- Sauté until the garlic is toasted and starting to change colour, but do not burn or they will go sour.
- Add the shrimp and sea salt.
- Turn up the heat to medium and sauté the shrimp until they are done. I like mine about 1 minute past turning pink. Longer makes them hard and dry.
- Drizzle with chopped cilantro or parsley and serve immediately.
- If you prefer to make them in individual bowls:
- Follow all the steps, but do not cook the shrimp in the pan. Sauté them about a minute, then pour them into individual oven proof dishes.
- Bake on the top rack at 200C (400F) just until they turn pink. Stir if necessary.
- Remove from oven, sprinkle with the cilantro and serve immediately with another plate underneath. (This is the traditional way to have gambas al ajillo in Spain, in individual pottery dishes.)