Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp)

How to make Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns

On a recent voyage through Spain’s lively markets and azure coasts, I was captivated by an exquisite discovery that soon became a highlight of my culinary adventures: Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns. This succulent dish, crafted from juicy king prawns, is elevated to perfection with the vibrant addition of fresh parsley and the unique depth of dry sherry, creating a delectable harmony of flavors that is deeply aromatic, slightly nutty, and wonderfully garlicky.

Driven by a mix of curiosity and culinary aspiration, I embarked upon the challenge of recreating this delightful delicacy within the confines of my own kitchen. With patience and careful attention to the balance of flavors, I gradually perfected my technique, unlocking the secrets to its tantalizing taste and sizzling presentation. It is with great excitement and a touch of newfound pride that I now share this cherished recipe for Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns with you. May it ignite in you the same passion for Spanish cuisine that it did in me, transforming your dining table into a vibrant feast of flavors.

Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns recipe

Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp)

Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns

Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns, a dish that captivates with its simple yet profoundly aromatic and flavorful profile, is a testament to the culinary richness of Spain. This delicacy combines tender, juicy king prawns with a tantalizing sauce made from olive oil, copious amounts of garlic, fresh parsley, and a splash of dry sherry, creating a harmony of flavors that are at once garlicky, slightly nutty, and unmistakably fresh. The prawns are cooked to perfection, ensuring they retain their succulence and are beautifully coated in the golden, fragrant oil that sizzles with each bite. This recipe, discovered and refined after being inspired by Spain's vibrant markets and coastal beauty, offers an immersive experience into Spanish cuisine. It's designed to ignite a passion for Spanish cooking, inviting diners to enjoy a dish that is not only delightful to the senses but also a celebration of culinary simplicity and elegance. Whether served as an appetizer or a main course, Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns promise a memorable dining experience, bringing the warmth and spirit of Spain to any table.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 people
Calories 896 kcal


  • 1 oven
  • 6 small oven tray dishes


  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons parsley
  • 900 g raw king prawns


  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  • Simply cut the prawns lengthwise but not all the way through it and cut the vein to flap the shrimp.
  • Use 6 small oven tray dishes or one big one to separate the shrimp, garlic, chili or pimento, brandy, and balsamic vinegar.
  • Cook for 12 to 15 minutes until it is red and piping hot, based on the pan or pots’ size.
  • Serve with toasted bread and citrus wedges, garnished with parsley.
Keyword king prawns, parsley

Cooking Tips about Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns

Gambas al Ajillo Recipe - Anya von Bremzen

  • Select High-Quality Ingredients: Starting with fresh, large king prawns is pivotal. The fresher the prawns, the better the taste and texture of your dish. Additionally, choosing high-quality olive oil will enrich the flavors, enhancing the overall profile of the dish.
  • Generous Use of Garlic: The heart of this recipe lies in the generous use of garlic. Don’t shy away from it; the garlic should be golden and fragrant, infusing the oil and prawns with its aroma without becoming burnt or bitter.
  • Paprika Is Key: Incorporate sweet or smoked paprika to add depth and a touch of Spanish authenticity to the dish. The type of paprika used can significantly alter the flavor profile, so choose according to your preference but stay true to the essence of the dish.
  • Control the Heat: Cooking the prawns at the right temperature is crucial. They should sizzle as soon as they hit the pan but watch closely to avoid overcooking. Prawns cook quickly and are best when they’re tender and juicy, turning them once until just pink.
  • Dry Sherry for Authentic Flavour: A splash of dry sherry adds an authentic Spanish flavor that truly sets this dish apart. Allow the alcohol to cook off, leaving behind its rich taste to complement the garlic and prawns beautifully.
  • Garnish Wisely: Finish the dish with freshly chopped parsley for a dash of color and freshness. This not only enhances the visual appeal but also adds a layer of flavor that ties the dish together.
  • Serve Immediately: Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns are best served hot, straight from the pan. Serve them with crusty bread to soak up the deliciously flavored oil, turning the meal into a delightful feast.
  • Adjust to Taste: While keeping the core ingredients in mind, don’t hesitate to adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences. A little extra garlic, a sprinkle of chili flakes for heat, or additional sherry can tailor the dish to your liking.

Serving suggestions about Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns

The Famous Spanish Garlic Shrimp | Gambas al Ajillo from Madrid

  • Pair with Crusty Bread: Serve these garlic-infused prawns with slices of warm, crusty bread to savor every drop of the richly flavored oil. It’s perfect for dipping and ensures that none of the delicious sauce goes to waste.
  • Accompany with a Fresh Salad: A light and refreshing salad dressed in olive oil and lemon juice makes an ideal accompaniment. Ingredients like mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onions add a crisp and clean contrast to the richness of the prawns.
  • Offer a Selection of Tapas: Embrace the Spanish tradition of enjoying multiple small dishes. Alongside Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns, offer a variety of tapas such as patatas bravas, chorizo slices, and marinated olives for a complete taste of Spain.
  • Wine Pairing: Enhance the meal with a glass of Spanish wine. A crisp, chilled Albariño or a light Fino sherry complements the garlic and sherry flavors of the prawns beautifully, balancing the overall richness.
  • Serve with Aioli or Romesco Sauce: For an added layer of flavor, offer a side of aioli or Romesco sauce. These dips can provide a creamy or nutty complement to the garlicky prawns, offering varied flavors and textures.
  • Spanish Rice or Patatas Bravas: Consider serving the prawns with a side of Spanish rice or patatas bravas (spicy potatoes). These sides can absorb the succulent flavors of the prawns, creating a hearty and satisfying meal.
  • Garnish with Fresh Herbs and Lemon: Before serving, garnish the prawns with additional chopped fresh parsley and lemon wedges. The acidity from the lemon can brighten the flavors, while the freshness of the parsley enhances the dish’s aroma.
  • Family-Style Presentation: Present the prawns in a large, communal dish allowing guests to share. This method not only makes for an inviting table setting but also encourages a shared dining experience that is at the heart of Spanish culture.

Top 5 FAQs about Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns

Gambas al Ajillo Recipe (Spanish Garlic Shrimp)

  • What makes Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns distinct from other prawn dishes? The distinctive qualities of Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns lie in its simple yet powerful combination of ingredients and cooking technique. Fresh king prawns are sautéed in a generous amount of garlic and high-quality olive oil, accompanied by fresh parsley and a splash of dry sherry, creating a garlicky, slightly nutty, and fresh flavor that’s perfectly balanced and deeply aromatic. This method ensures the prawns are juicy and tender, coated in a sizzling, golden oil that’s rich in garlic flavor, setting it apart from other prawn dishes.
  • How important is the type of oil used in this dish? The choice of oil is crucial in achieving the desired flavor profile for Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns. High-quality olive oil is recommended because it not only enriches the overall taste but also contributes to the dish’s authentic Spanish essence. Olive oil has the ability to carry the aromatic compounds in garlic and herbs, creating a deeper flavor experience.
  • Can I substitute dry sherry with something else in the recipe? While dry sherry adds an authentic Spanish flavor to the dish, if it’s not available, you can substitute it with a dry white wine or a bit of white wine vinegar mixed with water as an alternative. Keep in mind that each substitute will slightly alter the original flavor profile but can still produce a delicious result.
  • What is the best way to serve Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns to preserve its flavors? To fully enjoy the flavors of Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns, serve them hot straight from the pan. Accompanying them with crusty bread to soak up the flavored oil enhances the dining experience. Serving immediately ensures the prawns retain their succulence and the oil remains sizzling, maximizing the sensory enjoyment of the dish.
  • Are there any particular tips for cooking the prawns perfectly? Yes, the key to perfectly cooked prawns is to not overcrowd the pan and to cook them on medium-high heat just until they turn pink and opaque, which usually takes about 1-2 minutes per side, depending on their size. It’s important to watch them closely and turn them once during cooking to ensure they are tender and juicy, avoiding overcooking which can make them tough.

In conclusion, Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns stand as a proud emblem of Spanish culinary tradition, capturing the heart and soul of Spain in every bite. This dish, with its simple yet powerful interplay of flavors—garlicky, rich, with hints of sherry and the freshness of parsley—encapsulates the essence of Spanish cooking: the ability to transform simple ingredients into an extraordinary feast for the senses. My journey to mastering this recipe has been more than just a culinary endeavor; it has been a voyage into the vibrant culture and spirited life of Spain itself. Sharing this recipe goes beyond offering a taste of Spanish cuisine; it is an invitation to experience the warmth, passion, and communal joy that is so integral to the Spanish way of life. Whether served as a convivial appetizer or as the centerpiece of a feast, Sizzling Spanish Garlic Prawns promise not only to enthrall your taste buds but also to bring a touch of Spanish exuberance to your table. This dish, both in its creation and enjoyment, is a celebration of simplicity, flavor, and the timeless pleasures of good food shared among friends and family.


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