Cooking with Aitor Zabala

Gambas al Ajillo: Garlicky Shrimp Saute

15 mins | Serves 1-2

Regalis Foods
Jumbo or Extra-Large, Head-On, Shell-On Shrimp, Preferably Santa Barbara Spot Prawns or Langoustine 4
Canola Oil 1 tbsp
$link 4 tbsps
Garlic Cloves (very thinly sliced) 4 cloves
Dried Guindilla or Other Small Red Chillies 3 pieces
Dry Sherry 1 tsp
Lemon 1/2
Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley Leaves (very finely chopped) 3 tbsps
Kosher Salt To taste
The Preparation

1. Prepare the shrimp by snipping off the legs with kitchen shears. Then, carefully push the shells off the bodies. Separate the shrimp heads from the tails by using a sharp knife to cut off the heads with ⅓-inch of the tails attached to keep the juices inside the heads.

2. Generously coat the bottom of a medium donabe, terracotta pot or Dutch oven with the canola and olive oils. Add the garlic, sprinkle lightly with salt and set over medium-low heat. Bring to a sizzle, stirring occasionally, until the garlic chips start to dance and turn golden brown around the edges, about 2 minutes. Don’t let them burn. Transfer the garlic to a paper-towel-lined plate and reserve.

3. Add the chillies to the hot oil and cook, turning, just until a shade darker, about 30 seconds. You don’t want them to burn. Transfer to the plate with the garlic.

4. Add the shrimp heads, sprinkle lightly with salt and cook, turning occasionally, for 30 seconds. Add the shrimp tails, sprinkle lightly with salt, and cook, turning, for 15 seconds. Return the garlic and chiles to the pot and shake and swirl the pot so the garlic coats everything. Add the sherry and let the alcohol burn out, about 1 minute. Zest half of the lemon half directly into the pot, then stir in half of the parsley. When the shrimp become opaque and their juices emulsify with the oil into a sauce, remove from the heat. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley, serve immediately.

Regalis Foods
$link 1 lb
Cloves of Garlic 7 med cloves
Chili de Arbol 1 piece (~ 1/2 an inch)
$link 8 oz
Parsely (chopped) 2 tsps
Salt To taste
Ground White Pepper To taste
Cast Iron Pot (10 inch diameter, 4 inch height ) 1
Kitchen Towel or Heat Proof Trivet 1
The Preparation

1. Trim the excess of the skin from the Kokotxas and dry between paper.

2. Peel and clean the garlic cloves. Keep them whole.

3. Add the Olive Oil in the cast-iron pot, then the garlic and the chili de arbol. Slowly bring heat to the oil and roast the garlic until honey color, be careful not to burn it.

4. Turn the flame off, remove the garlic and chili from the oil, reserve.

5. Let the oil cool down to 140F.

6. Generously season the Kokotxas with salt and pepper-keep in mind you’re seasoning for the fish and the sauce.

7. Return the oil to the stovetop, heat gently and add the kokotxas. Confit slowly until they’re tender and release their gelatin into the oil.

8. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool down to 120F.

9. Place the kitchen towel on counter top with the pot on top. This will protect your counter top while you move the pot.

10. Start moving the pot in a circles, keeping your movement slow and consistent. After a few minutes the oil and gelatin will start to emulsify. You want a really creamy and uniform texture. It will look like thin yellow custard when its fully emulsified.

11. Finish the dish by garnishing with the roasted garlic and a shower of chopped parsley.