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Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

You can't go to the Basque country—or anywhere else in Spain for that matter—without trying gambas al ajillo, a classic seafood tapas dish and one of the simplest and most delicious of all shrimp preparations. At Taberna del Alabardero in Washington, D.C., chef Josu Zubikarai makes this appetizer in a traditional flameproof clay casserole, which doubles as a serving vessel.

slideshow Fast Hors d'Oeuvres

  • Servings: 6 APPETIZER

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  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 5 small dried red chiles (See Note)
  • Salt
  • 1 thin loaf of French or Italian bread, for serving


  1. In a large, heavy nonreactive skillet, combine the olive oil and garlic slices and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the garlic is lightly golden, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and dried red chiles and cook, stirring frequently, just until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the skillet from the heat and season the shrimp lightly with salt.
  2. Serve the warm shrimp at once in their flavored oil with the bread for sopping it up.


Small dried red chiles are available at specialty food stores and most supermarkets.

Contributed By Published July 1996

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