Prawns with Garlic (Gambas Al Ajillo)
You'll find this dish in pretty much every tapas bar in every coastal town in Spain, as well as in all the major cities. We love our fish and shellfish so much that the capital, Madrid (which is in the middle of mainland Spain), is a major fresh fish importer, second only to Toyko.
There are two ways of preparing this dish, depending on whether or not you want to peel the prawns before cooking. Traditionally this would be cooked in a flameproof terracotta dish, in which you then serve the prawns - if you don't have one you can use an ordinary frying pan and leave the heads and shells on. I love these either way.
- 12 large raw prawns in their shells
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 100ml olive oil
- 3 dried Cayenne chillies (or other dried chilli)
- sea salt flakes
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Peel the prawns, leaving their tails intact (if you are using a frying pan you can cook the prawns in their shells). Sprinkle with a little sea salt.
Put the olive oil, garlic and chillies in the terracotta pot of frying pan and place over a high heat. When the garlic starts to turn golden, add the prawns. Cook for 1 minute on each side, until they just turn pink. Sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve immediately in the terracotta pot. Take care not to burn yourself as the oil and the terracotta will stay hot for several minutes.