Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)

PUBLISHED ON: 08.10.2022

Spanish cuisine is focused on creating dishes that use fresh ingredients reflective of the region it is produced or grown. Spanish olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, eggs, and the smoky spice of paprika are commonly shared ingredients you will find in many Spanish dishes.

There is an intrinsic understanding that what grows together, goes together in Spanish food and because most food is local, you can experience this magic while traveling in Spain.

We spent time in Northern Spain in the Galicia Region, a coastal region with the Atlantic coast to the west and the Galician Massif Mountain range to the east, which is also known as “Green Spain.” Fishing is the major industry and fresh seafood is abundant in this part of Spain.

Galicia, Spain. Rías Baixas Wine Region. View of the Atlantic Coast.

Atlantic Coastline-Galicia, Spain

A dish we enjoyed is an easy to prepare shrimp dish rich in garlic, olive oil and smoky paprika. We have made this recipe numerous times at home and it remains one of our favorite classic Spanish dishes. The dish is versatile. Perfect for entertaining or a great weeknight family meal.

Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)


1lb. Large raw shrimp
1/4 cup good quality olive oil (preferably Spanish)
1/4 cup unsalted butter (4 Tablespoons)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4-6 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Optional: crusty bread slices for soaking up the flavors.

In a large heavy skillet, at medium heat, add the butter, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1-2 minutes or just until garlic becomes fragrant (careful not too overcook the garlic).
Add the paprika, lemon juice and shrimp and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until shrimp are pink.
Season with salt and pepper.
Ready to serve in individual bowls or a large serving bowl.
Garnish with parsley.


Wine Pairing Suggestion:

Tucked in the northwest corner of Galicia and nestled among vineyards stretched along the wild Atlantic coastline is the Rias Baxias wine region. This region produces elegant white wines which includes their famous resident grape Albariño. A natural high-acidity, light-bodied wine with notes of stone fruit, citrus, and a tasting of sea spray. These affordable wines make a beautiful perfect pairing with seafood.

La Val Albariño wine

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