August 4, 2011

Sizzling Spanish Shrimp and Chorizo

When my husband and I first got married, one of our favorite restaurants was a Spanish tapas place called Tapeo. It was always packed, buzzing with a lively group of people crowded around the bar, sangria in hand.

Tapeo was great year-round, but especially in the summer. My husband I would sit outside on their patio, people watching while drinking pitcher after pitcher of their ruby red sangria.

We loved to try different tapas, but the two we ordered on every visit were Gambas al Ajillo and Chorizo a la Plancha.

Gambas are shrimp. Tapeo served them in a sizzling garlic oil. The garlic permeated the shrimp and oil with the most heavenly flavor. We’d keep asking for refills of our bread until we’d soaked up every last drop of the fragrant oil.

Chorizo is a spicy Spanish pork sausage seasoned with smoked paprika and salt. At Tapeo they’d grill it to caramelize the outside and enhance its smoky flavor.

I came across a recipe the other day that combined both of these delicious tapas into one dish. The chorizo and garlic flavor the oil with a deep smokiness. And the shrimp absorbs all those flavors without losing its essential shrimp flavor. Serving this dish with a baguette to soak up all the intensely flavored oil is an absolute must.

Once you start cooking this dish, it moves along pretty fast. I’d recommend getting everything ready before turning on the stove. I started with some lovely head- and tail-on shrimp.

Peel and devein the shrimp then rinse and pat it dry. Put it back in the fridge while you prepare your other ingredients.

Prepare your chorizo. I used pork chorizo, but turkey chorizo would be fine too.

Slice up your chorizo. Look at all those lovely spices!

Also mince your garlic cloves.

Now, heat up your pan (a heavy cast-iron pan works nicely if you have one). Add several tablespoons of olive oil and let it heat through. Be generous with the oil – you’re going to want lots of it to eat with your bread.

Carefully add your chorizo to the pan. Cook for several minutes until it’s nice and golden brown on all sides. Then remove the chorizo from the pan with a slotted spoon, but leave the oil behind.

Now add the minced garlic. Cook for a minute or so until the garlic is golden yellow.

Then add the shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp is just cooked.

Add the chorizo back to the pan until everything is heated through.

Serve immediately with a crusty, warm baguette.

Sizzling Spanish Shrimp and Chorizo

Recipe minimally adapted from I Will Not Eat Oysters

1 1/2 cups Spanish style chorizo, sliced into 1/4" pieces
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 baguette, warmed

1.      Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the chorizo and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Remove the pieces of chorizo with a slotted spoon onto a plate (no paper towel) and reserve. Leave the oil in the pan.

2.      Turn heat down to medium and add the garlic into the oil. Cook for about 1 minute, until the garlic is golden.

3.      Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the shrimp. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the shrimp are just cooked through.

4.      Add the chorizo back in and toss everything together.

Serve with a warm baguette.

Serves 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a main course.

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