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Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp Sauteed in Garlic)

Gambas al Ajillo from Curate Tapas Bar in Asheville, North Carolina.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Seafood
Cuisine: American, Spanish
Servings: 2
Calories: 165kcal
Author: Sommer Collier


  • 1 clove garlic whole, with peel on
  • 1 clove garlic sliced thin
  • 1 arbol chili a dried, whole chili pepper—sub. pinch of chili flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 shrimp cleaned, peeled and butterflied with tail left on
  • 2 tablespoons light olive oil or an olive oil blend
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • Salt


  • Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat with the whole clove of garlic skin on, just until the skin on the garlic starts to brown.
  • Meanwhile salt the shrimp with a half a teaspoon of salt. Once the whole garlic clove has started to brown, add the sliced garlic, and as soon as the sliced garlic just barely begins to brown, add the arbol chili, bay leaf, and the shrimp.
  • Toss everything together in the saute pan cooking the shrimp. When the shrimp is halfway cooked (still raw in the center), remove from the heat and add the sherry, mix well, and return to the stove over medium heat.
  • As soon as the shrimp is just cooked through, remove the shrimp from the pan with tongs and place on the serving dish. Return the sauce to the stove and reduce a little bit, tasting and adjusting the seasoning for salt.
  • Pour the hot sauce over the shrimp and serve immediately.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 165kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 19mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 1.9mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.5mg