During the summer of 2012, my son, Christian, traveled to Cadiz in the south of Spain for a high school immersion program. He ate traditional family style meals in the home where he stayed. One day, after school, he went to a local market to shop for rice and fish and prepared Paella with a local chef. With classmates and newly made friends, he ate from the carts of street vendors and in cafes. He learned to crave the offerings of this sleepy seaside village. When he returned, he brought me a Spanish cookbook as a gift and I began making tapas for our entire family. Gambas al ajillo que chisporrotea--sizzling garlic shrimp--is one of our family's favorite dishes. Lately, he has been coaxing me to consider cooking a Spanish seafood paella. I've begun looking for an authentic vessel in which to cook it.

Kitchen Notes
I prefer smaller shrimp for this dish as they fit on the baguette better. The smaller the shrimp, the faster they cook, so adjust accordingly.

Sizzling Garlic Shrimp with Red Chili Flakes & Parsley


  • 1 pound medium shrimp (41/50 per pound, tails removed, peeled and deveined)

  • 14 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 2 teaspoons sherry

  • 1/4 cup parsley, stems removed and chopped

  • 1 baguette, sliced and warmed


1. Add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and the sea salt to a glass bowl with a lid. Use a garlic press to mince 2 cloves into the olive oil. Stir and then add the shrimp and let marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. In a large sauté skillet, heat the olive oil with 4 cloves of smashed garlic on medium low heat. Remove the garlic when it starts to brown. This usually takes about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

4. Slice the remaining garlic into thin pieces.

5. Return the oil to a burner set to low heat. Add the bay leaf, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic slices. Cook for 5 minutes until the garlic is tender (don't let it brown). If the garlic is not sizzling after 3 minutes, turn burner to medium-low heat.

6. Increase the heat to medium-low and add the shrimp to the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp in the gently sizzling oil without moving them for two minutes.

7. Turn the shrimp with a long pair of tongs (to avoid getting splashed with sizzling oil). Cook until shrimp is cooked through which only takes a few minutes.

8. Increase the heat to medium-high and add the sherry and parsley. Cook for 20 seconds and remove from heat.

9. Transfer to a warm dish and serve immediately. Pass a basket filled with the warm baguette to soak up all the delicious oil.

Serves 12 as a beginning or 6 as a small plate