Gambas al Ajillo (sauteed shrimp with garlic) may usually be a staple in Spanish tapas joints, but the same dish is also a popular Filipino bar food (perhaps a takeaway from a couple hundred years of Spanish colonialism, I’m guessing).
And despite its Spanish origins and Filipino popularity, gambas al ajillo are also perfect game day fare for an All-American Super Bowl shindig–especially if all of your Crispy Adobo Wings dissappear before the first timeout.
In fact, gambas al ajillo are so quick and easy to prepare, you can probably get a batch done, from start to finish, in 5 minutes flat–ensuring you don’t miss a single play, snap, or commercial (hey, I don’t judge) during your Super Bowl viewing party.
Gambas. Not to be confused with Goombas.
Featuring a glut of garlic and chilies, some Spanish smoked paprika, and just a touch of banana ketchup for sweetness, my version of Gambas al Ajillo is fairly straightforward. Even if you’ve got a few riojas, or better yet, a few cold San Miguel beers, in your system and you’re stumbling around your kitchen like Bo Jackson on a Tecmo Bowl field, the end result is still a touchdown (yes, I tried very hard to work in that reference).
Ah, Tecmo Bowl. It’s a classic.
Anyways, even if you’re not throwing a party where appetizers are needed, you can still make this recipe as a main course. I like to split open a nice crusty baguette, brush its insides with the garlic sauce, and then fill it with the spicy shrimp for a Gambas Po’ Boy.
Gambas al Ajillo Po’ Boy
Gambas al Ajillo (Spicy Shrimp and Garlic)
Makes 2-4 appetizer servings
1/4 cup olive oil
6-7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1 thai bird chile, finely chopped
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish parika
Optional–1 tablespoon banana ketchup (can be found in Filipino markets)
juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, chile flakes, and chile to the pan and cook until garlic just begins to brown, about 30 seconds.
Add the shrimp and paprika to the pan and toss to coat. Cook the shrimp until they turn pink and are just cooked through–about 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, then season with salt and pepper. Remove shrimp from heat and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.