MIDWEEK BLUES – SPANISH GARLIC SHRIMP WITH SUMMER SALAD
This is a dish that embodies the glorious flavors of Spanish and a tapa found in every bar. As a rule, the key is to use fresh shrimp, not frozen to obtain the maximum flavor of the prawns. A dried chili pepper is added for spice, in Spain they are called Guindilla, but a dried Guajillo or red jalapeño are optimal too. The shrimp are rendered succulent and tender bathed in the garlicky, spicy olive oil, which in itself is magical, so loads of fresh baguette is warranted to mop it up. An accompanying salad of crisp butter lettuce, tomatoes, shallots and hothouse cukes makes for a very satisfying and uncomplicated summer meal and a celebration of Spain in your very own backyard.
GAMBAS AL AJILLO
1 LB of large shelled and deveined shrimp – their tails on
½ cup of minced parsley
1 dried red chili – whole (or a ½ TSP of red pepper flakes)
3 TBSP of dry Spanish sherry wine
4 large garlic cloves – peeled and sliced thinly
1 TBSP butter
½ TSP Spanish smoked paprika
1 cup of EVOO
1 TBSP grated lemon peel and the juice of ½ the lemon
Salt and pepper the shrimp. In a shallow skillet, preferably cast-iron, heat up the oil and the butter, to medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the slices of garlic and cook gently, stirring often to ensure they don’t burn. Add the chili pepper and cook for an additional 30 seconds or so. Add the shrimp and cook them on each side for about 1 minute, adding the sherry, lemon zest and the lemon juice. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes and remove promptly from the fire, leaving the shrimp in the oil to finish cooking for about 2-3 minutes. Add the cooked shrimp with their oil in an earthenware serving bowl, sprinkle the parsley on top and serve with loads of fresh cut baguette.
TOMATO AND FRESH MOZZARELLA SALAD
1 container of fresh buffalo mozzarella packed in water
1 cup of green grapes cut in half
Fresh cherry and yellow tomatoes – halved
½ cup of chopped walnuts
Fresh chopped basil – chiffonade
½ cup of chopped parsley
Raspberry balsamic glaze
Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Toss the halved tomatoes with the parsley, grapes, the basil and add some EVOO, regular balsamic, salt and pepper.
Place them on a plate, add more chopped basil and arrange the sliced mozzarella on the side. Sprinkle the walnuts and a drizzle of the balsamic glaze of top.