The above picture is from a greeting card I picked up in London. (The card can be personalized which is why it says “Name,” but you get the gist.)
As George Orwell once wrote of his countrymen: ”England and the English as a rule, they will refuse even to sample a foreign dish, they regard such things as garlic and olive oil with disgust, life is unlivable to them unless they have tea and puddings.” British vacationers who visited Spain in the 1950s and 1960s would take over the kitchens of their hotels in order to make traditional British foods like Shepherd’s Pie because they were so appalled with the local food in which everything was, horror of horrors, swimming in garlic.
Today, tapas restaurants are popular in London and this simple shrimp recipe, from the book, is one of my favorites. Serve it with crusty bread to soap up the “swimming in garlic” juices.
Gambas al Ajillo
Makes 4 appetizer serving or 2 main course servings
4 oz olive oil
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup cognac
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
2. Increase the heat to high and immediately add the shrimp, cognac, lemon juice, and paprika. Sauté, stirring frequently, until the shrimp turn pink and the edges curl, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Serve the shrimp on heated appetizer plates topped with the pan juices spooned over the shrimp and sprinkled with parsley.