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How to Make Gambas al Ajillo – Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)

How to Make Gambas al Ajillo - Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)

Our full recipe guide on how to make Gambas al Ajillo one of the most popular tapas in Spain. Apart from Spanish Omelette and the paella, the Gambas al Ajillo is less complicated to cook.

Gambas al Ajillo, or garlic shrimp, is a popular Spanish tapa known for its simplicity and incredible flavor. This dish is typically cooked quickly in olive oil with plenty of garlic and served sizzling hot. Here’s how you can make authentic Gambas al Ajillo at home.

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How to Make Gambas al Ajillo

Gambas al Ajillo Recipe Ingredients

How to Make Gambas al Ajillo - Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)

1 pound (450g) of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails left on for presentation, if desired)
4-5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1-2 small dried chilies, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes for heat)
1/4 cup dry sherry or white wine (optional)
Salt to taste
Fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges for serving

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Step By Step How to Make Gambas al Ajillo

  1. Prepare the Shrimp

Ensure the shrimp are thoroughly cleaned, peeled, and deveined. Pat them dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture. This step is crucial for getting a nice sear on the shrimp.

How to Make Gambas al Ajillo - Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)
  1. Cook the Garlic

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced or minced garlic and the crushed dried chilies or red pepper flakes. Sauté until the garlic is just golden – be careful not to let it burn as that can give a bitter taste.

  1. Add the Shrimp

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt.
Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turn pink and are just cooked through. Avoid overcooking to keep the shrimp tender.

  1. Deglaze the Pan

Pour in the dry sherry or white wine, if using, and let it simmer for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate. This step also lifts the fond (browned bits) from the bottom of the pan, adding more flavor to the sauce.

How to Make Gambas al Ajillo - Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)
  1. Serve

Immediately transfer the shrimp and garlic oil to a warm plate or serve right in the skillet if it’s suitable for table presentation. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Gambas al Ajillo is best enjoyed freshly cooked and hot. Serve with crusty bread to sop up the delicious garlic-infused olive oil.

Tips For Making Gambas al Ajillo

How to Make Gambas al Ajillo - Authentic Gambas al Ajillo (Recipe Guide)

For the best flavor, use fresh shrimp if possible. However, frozen shrimp can also work well; just make sure they are fully thawed and patted dry.

Adjust the amount of garlic to your taste. More garlic will deliver a stronger flavor, which is traditional in this dish. Control the spiciness by adjusting the amount of dried chilies or red pepper flakes according to your preference.

How Many Calories Have Gambas al Ajillo

Shrimp (1 pound or 450g): Raw shrimp is about 30 calories per ounce, so for one pound, you’re looking at approximately 480 calories.
Olive Oil (1/2 cup): Olive oil has about 120 calories per tablespoon. With 8 tablespoons in half a cup, that totals 960 calories.
Garlic (4-5 cloves): A clove of garlic has about 4 to 5 calories, so this adds minimal calories, around 20 calories for 5 cloves.
Dry Sherry or White Wine (1/4 cup): This can add around 50 calories, depending on the exact type and alcohol content.
Gambas al Ajillo would be around 377 calories and if you add a slice of bread can range from 80 to 120 calories extra.

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