Traditionally, Gambas al Ajillo or Spanish garlic prawns or shrimp are so simple to make. Made with only three ingredients, shrimps, garlic, and olive oil. This recipe is inspired from that, and brought to a higher level, with the addition of smoked paprika, chili, wine and butter for that richness and smoothness.
Try and buy the best ingredients you can, fresh shrimp is always best, but frozen works well too. When deveining them, cut all the way from the tail to the top so they open nicely while cooking. Make sure you use high heat for that beautiful caramelisation. But don’t over cook them, keep them translucent inside, they will finish cooking when you throw them back in the sauce. So many recipes over cook the shrimp as they don’t set them aside first. This is such an important step, so don’t miss it.
Buy the authentic Spanish smoked paprika if you can, the fragrance is so much nicer than regular ones and of course, use high quality extra virgin olive oil.
When cooking the garlic, only let it brown slightly, otherwise it will burn. You want that roasted garlic flavour so brown it just a little.
When adding the butter to the sauce, do it fast over very low heat, it will emulsify into a glossy incredible sauce. Avoid too much heat as it can break and become oily. Serve it with crusty bread or saffron rice.