Spicy Garlic Shrimp with spicy, garlicky sauce is perfect for sopping up with crusty bread! This Spanish tapa, Gambas al Ajillo, has all the big, bold flavors you’ll love in an appetizer or dinner meal.
If you’re looking to ramp up your appetizer menu list as we head into the holiday season, spicy garlic shrimp got you covered! With succulent shrimp in a spicy, garlicky sauce, this Spanish tapa has all the big, bold flavors you’ll love in party food. In fact, it’s so good you’d want it for a light lunch or dinner meal, too!
Gambas al Ajillo is a popular Spanish dish traditionally served in tapa bars as an appetizer but has grown in popularity over the years as an entree. The garlicky pan juices are made for sopping up with crusty bread and with a side of green salad, you have an amazing meal that’s sure to draw oohs and ahhs from guests!
This shrimp with garlic sauce recipe is simple to prepare and is ready in minutes. Shrimps are quickly sauteed on high heat in olive oil, dry sherry, and copious amounts of garlic along with sweet paprika for a smoky layer of flavor and red pepper flakes for a kick of spice.
- I am all for pre-prepared ingredients to save time but in this, I highly suggest shrimps with head-on and taking the extra effort of peeling them yourself. Already peeled frozen shrimps have a rubbery texture in my opinion and using the freshest shrimp possible does make a big difference.
- Garlic is the center of flavor here and it does impart a wonderful flavor and aroma to the dish. The problem is, this aromatic burns fast and burnt garlic=bleeh! Add the garlic while the olive oil is still warm and set your heat at medium so you can draw out maximum flavor as the garlic gently browns.
- Once the oil is thick with flavor and the garlic begins to brown, crank up the heat to high before adding the rest of the ingredients. You want to sear the shrimp quickly and not overcook.
Spicy Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined with tails intact
- 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley, chopped
- In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil to warm. Add garlic and cook, stirring regularly, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown.
- Increase heat to high heat. Add shrimp, dry sherry, lemon juices, paprika, and red pepper flakes.
- Cook, stirring regularly, for about 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp changes color. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.