Gambas al Ajillo is arguably Spain's most famous tapas dish, and the Barcelona Cookbook's version does not disappoint.
One thing that struck me about the recipe is how little oil it uses -- just 2 tsp. of olive oil. I would have expected the garlic slices to burn, but instead, they browned beautifully and added a deep roasted garlic flavor to the sherry-based sauce. This dish is simple, but rich and luscious on the palate.
If you'd like to find out about or buy this wonderful new cookbook, based on the cuisine served at the very successful Barcelona Wine Bar restaurants in southwestern Connecticut, more information can be found at the book's website or Amazon.
Barcelona Cookbook's Gambas al Ajillo
20 medium shrimp (21-25 count), peeled and deveined, with tails left on
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline)
1 cup Christian Brothers Golden Sherry
2 pinched of red hot pepper flakes
Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbs. unsalted butter
1. Lightly rinse the shrimp under cool running water. Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly season the shrimp with salt and pepper.
2. In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp and sear for about three minutes, turning once or twice, or until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the sherry to the pan, being careful in case it ignites (if it does, remove the pan from the heat and the flames will subside quickly). Stir in the pepper flakes and thyme and cook a few minutes longer, or until the shrimp is cooked through and pink.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a serving dish and leave the sherry in the pan. Still over high heat, reduce the sherry for 7-10 minutes, or until it become a glaze.
4. Add the butter to the pan, swirling it over medium heat until melted. Return the shrimp to the pan, toss with the glaze, and serve immediately.