The last few times I’ve had to grab food at the grocery store, red meat and chicken were often in short supply, but there was plenty of seafood to be had. I decided to make use of this with a classic Spanish-style tapa called Gambas al Ajillo

This garlicky, smokey, spicy shrimp plate cooks up in minutes and can make a meal or serve as a side or a snack. Feel free to double up on the amount of garlic in this recipe, you can never have too much in my opinion. 

  • Olive oil
  • ½ lb shrimp
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • ¼ white wine
  • ¼ tsp (or ⅛ tsp depending on desired spice level) Cayenne pepper 
  • ½ tsp paprika or pimentón
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp red peppercorns or red pepper flakes
  • 1 lemon to serve
  • Bread to serve


Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact and setting the peels aside. Season the raw shrimp with salt and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Thinly slice the garlic cloves and set aside.

Heat about 1 tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil “shimmers” it is ready to go. *Note* If it starts to smoke, it is too hot. Turn down heat and add a splash of oil to cool it down. 

Add the shrimp peels and garlic to the oil and stir occasionally until the garlic starts to turn brown (it will go quickly so stay close!). 

Remove the shrimp peels and discard. Add all the spices to the pan, stirring rapidly to incorporate into all the oil and release the aromatics. 

Add the shrimp and white wine and cook until opaque and slightly firm (about 1-3 minutes). Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a crusty bread to sop up all the sauce.