• 1 1/4 lb small shrimp, peeled
  • Sea Salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1 cup fragrant extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 small dry red chile, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Gambas al Ajillo are one of Spain’s most popular tapas. The secret to success is very fragrant olive oil that is not too heavy in texture, and a cooking vessel that conducts heat slowly. A cazuela is ideal, but you can also use a deep-cast skillet.


Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels, then sprinkle salt over them. Place the olive oil and garlic in 10 inch earthenware cazuela (or skillet) and heat over medium-low heat until the oil shimmers and the garlic begins to sizzle.

Cook until the garlic is very fragrant but not colored, about 2 to 3 minutes, reducing the heat if necessary. Add the chile and stir for a few seconds.

Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until they just begin to turn pink, about 3 minutes.

Season with salt to taste, stir in the parsley, and cook for a few seconds longer.

Serve the shrimp in the cazuela with plenty of bread alongside. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6