Monday, October 4, 2010


Now, believe it or not, but my recent stint in Mexico led me to the discovery of a FANTASTIC little tapas restaurant (run by yanks, in Mexico - go figure).  At least both cultures speak Spanish, even if their cuisine is wildly different.  There were a couple of dishes I tried at this restaurant that really stood out as being amazing, and a recent recipe sent to me by the fitness fanatics over at Self reminded me of one of them.  I tweaked it a little (how can you not have paprika in this dish?!), and you might want to as well by scaling back on that garlic a little - yowza!

Chile Garlic Shrimp (or gambas al ajillo if you prefer)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably Spanish) 
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
2 lbs large shrimp, shelled and deveined 
2 dried red chiles (plus more for garnish, if desired) 
1 tsp paprika
2 teaspoons brandy 
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1 chunk of yummy bread to sop up all the sauce

Heat oil in a medium sauté pan over high heat. Sauté garlic until browned, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp and chiles; sauté until shrimp are cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add brandy and paprika and cook 1 minute more. Remove from heat. Transfer to a platter or divide equally among 8 small plates. Sprinkle with parsley, add salt to taste and serve.

Another big hit, with everyone I made try them (and it was just about everyone I dined with - definitely everyone that came down to visit) - piquillo pimientos or pasilla peppers (or hell, even red bell peppers) with goat cheese.  Seriously, I think they roast the peppers to give them a nice smoky flavor and soften them up, peel the skins off, stuff them with goat cheese, heat them up, and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt to serve.  Simple; but they are the most amazingly bright and fresh appetizers.  And please, don't do as my dad did - red jalapenos are NOT the same thing.
Fine fine, if you need a recipe; what do you know - Self has one of those too!  Those smarties. 

Served with some grilled asparagus finished with olive oil, lemon & sea salt; a nice glass of Spanish wine; and a dessert of port and delicious cheese with honey and marcona almonds and you may as well be in Spain.


Anonymous said...

The concept of tapas restaurants became much less exciting when I heard the term pronounced more clearly, but those shrimp sound great!

Quinn said...

Oops, that anonymous comment was me. Hit return too soon.