In our family, back on the block, we called this recipe Camarones con Ajo, or Shrimp with Garlic. It was one of our beloved Uncle Phillip’s favorite dishes. Years later I discovered that this is also a popular Spanish tapas dish, which they call Gambas al Ajillo.  As most know by now, tapas, in Spanish cuisine, is defined as an appetizer or snack. Well, this may be the norm in all the bistros in Spain, but in our clan, we always served Camarones con Ajo as an entrée, usually with rice and, sometimes, pasta.

Puerto Ricans love seafood, especially shellfish. And in this vein, shrimp is king (at least it was in our family). We’re also enamored of garlic, lots of it in a dish. Recently I cooked up this dish again but, this time, I served it over Thai rice noodles. It was divine. Nothing could be easier. The hard part is peeling and devieining the shrimp. Just take your time and think of it as a labor of love because, believe me, the results will be worth the bother. Added Note: If you don’t like it spicy, omit the chili.



(Shrimp with Garlic)


1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 pound shrimp (about 20 large shrimp), peeled and deveined
1  dried chili pepper (Chipotle, Mulato, Gaundilla, Ancho, or your favorite), seeded and chopped fine
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon brandy
Salt to taste


  1.  Heat olive oil in a medium pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  2.  Add garlic and sauté until browned, about 2 minutes.
  3.  Add shrimp and chili pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and cook for another 2 minutes.
  4.  Pour in the brandy, and cook for another minute. Add salt, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
    Yield: 4 or more servings.