This is the Best Spanish Garlic Shrimp Recipe I’ve ever made. A special method of using garlic three different ways infuses the shrimp with tons of garlicky flavor.
I am so excited to share this fabulous Garlic Shrimp tapas/appetizer recipe with you today. It’s one of my kids’ and husband’s favorites when we eat out at a Cuban restaurant in Florida. We always order it and are never disappointed. Called Gambas al Ajillo in Spanish, it’s a common dish on Spanish menus and actually very easy to prepare at home.
I’ve tried making Garlic Shrimp at home several times, but it’s never come out as flavorful as this recipe. Kenji from Serious Eats came up with a method that kicks up the flavor in this recipe by using garlic three ways – minced and marinated with the shrimp; crushed to flavor the cooking oil; and sliced and browned in oil before cooking the shrimp. One unique technique that Kenji uses is to add a little baking soda to the shrimp before cooking it. This is a traditional Chinese cooking technique that keeps the shrimp “crispy” after stir-frying. In this recipe, it gives the shrimp a wonderful texture.
He also sautes the shrimp shells in oil, which I did not do because I used frozen shrimp that had already been peeled. I’m sure that extra step must add a wonderful aroma as I have used shrimp shells before and found that to be true.
I made this Garlic Shrimp last week just to test it out, and my husband went crazy over it. In fact, after sampling a few, he stopped himself and said we had to save the rest to serve at the church meeting we were hosting that evening. I looked down at the bowl, and it was a pitifully small amount to serve such a big group, so I made another batch before everyone arrived.
There’s a lot of oil in this recipe, which is not normally how I cook, but in this case, the garlic oil is the best part. All the shrimp and garlic flavor are in it and it’s my kids’ favorite sauce for dipping bread in. I’m sure it would be fantastic on pasta too if you want to serve this as a main course for a special occasion.
Today, I’m participating in a monthly Progressive Dinner Party called Progressive Eats with a group of talented food bloggers who are big foodies like me. Barb from Creative Culinary is hosting this month’s Cocktail Party themed progressive dinner. She’s the brain child behind Progressive Eats.
Progressive Eats is a virtual version of a progressive dinner party. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
GIVEAWAY!! This month’s theme is a Cocktail Party celebrating Creative Culinary’s 3rd year of Friday Cocktails. Be sure to hop over to Barb’s post where she is giving away a gorgeous wine bottle opener to one of our Progressive Eats readers.
Here’s our full menu for this month’s Cocktail Party:
- Pepper Jelly Bites – Savvy Eats
- Smoked Salmon Roses with Endive and Creme Fraiche – That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Spanish Style Garlic Shrimp – Jeanette’s Healthy Living (That’s me! Recipe below)
- Pepper Jelly and Brie Phyllo Cups – Lana’s Cooking
- Pomegranate Izzetini – Creative Culinary
- Northern Spy Cocktail – Healthy Delicious
- Orange Pomegranate Moscato Cocktail – Miss in the Kitchen
- Cranberry Martini – Spice Roots
- Simply Caramel Chocolate Turnovers – Barbara Bakes
- Pumpkin Coconut Cookies – The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Maple Cream Snickerdoodle Bars – Willow Bird Baking
The Best Garlic Shrimp
- 12 cloves garlic
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined (I used 51/60 count)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- one 1" piece dried chili
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Finely mince 4 garlic cloves and place in a medium bowl. Smash 4 garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and set aside. Thinly slice remaining 4 cloves of garlic and set aside.
Place shrimp in bowl with minced garlic; add 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt and baking soda; toss well and set aside.
Pour remaining 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet along with smashed garlic cloves and dried chili pepper. Heat on medium-low until garlic is pale golden brown, turning garlic cloves and chili pepper over to brown both sides and pressing down both to release flavor. Remove garlic cloves and chili pepper; set aside as garnish.
Turn heat up to medium; add sliced garlic and cook until pale golden brown, about a minute. Add shrimp and spread in a single layer. Cook until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add sherry vinegar and parsley, and toss to combine. Garnish with browned garlic cloves and chili pepper. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Serious Eats.