This is the classic Spanish tapa, found in every region of Spain. Fresh shrimp—not frozen—are very important in this tapa, but I have discovered that if previously frozen shrimp are well salted, they regain some of the briny taste of the sea that has been lost. This recipe is a slight variation on the traditional shrimp-garlic-oil-hot pepper recipe. I feel it works best when cooked in smaller quantities (in Spain it is usually an individual portion); therefore I prefer, although it is not essential, to prepare the following recipe in at least two separate casseroles.
Shrimp in Garlic Sauce from Tapas: The Little Dishes of Spain by Penelope Casas.
½–¾ pound shrimp, preferably very small, shelled
Kosher or sea salt
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, peeled and very coarsely chopped
1 medium-hot dried red chile pepper, such as Spanish guindilla or guajillo, stem and seeds removed, in 2 pieces
½ teaspoon sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Dry the shrimp well and sprinkle salt on both sides. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Heat the oil in four ramekins or one shallow 8-inch casserole, preferably earthenware. Add the garlic and chile pepper, and when the garlic starts to turn golden (be careful not to overcook) add the shrimp. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are just done. Sprinkle in the paprika, parsley, and salt.
Serve immediately, right in the cooking dish if possible. Provide lots of good bread for dunking.