Many years ago in Madrid I ordered Shrimp al Ajillo for dinner. Served in an old dented aluminum pot, it didn't look too promising when it came to the table. Once the waiter removed the lid however, I knew we had ordered a winner. The strong aroma of garlic filled the room. Served alongside fried potatoes, we ate until every last morsel had disappeared. Shrimp, garlic and olive oil are always a winning combination. I've often changed the recipe to suit the season adding chopped basil, parsley or even tomatoes. Serve it over rice, pasta or eat it like a Madrileno with a side of fried potatoes. But be certain to always include a crusty bread for sopping up the extra sauce.
Shrimp al Ajillo
1 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 handful chopped fresh parsley
Pour olive oil and garlic into a large pot over medium heat. When you can smell the garlic aroma add the pepper flakes and paprika. Stir in the shrimp and raise the heat to high. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until the shrimp are opaque and firm about 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add more hot sauce or crushed pepper flakes if needed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.
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