Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

Shrimp recipes generally fall into one of two categories: dead simple and fast, or elaborate and slow (with the shrimp thrown in at the end). This dish falls into both categories – you can whip it up in just a few minutes, or you could marinate it up to overnight for more flavor. Sky’s the limit. Not to be undone, there are also two variations of this dish you can prepare (Camarones a la Criollo and Mexican-style Camarones al Ajillo) if you’re up for the challenge — both variations add even more fun to this weeknight dish.

Clarified butter (or its toastier-tasting cousin, ghee) will allow you to cook the shrimp at a high heat without burning the butter. To make clarified butter, warm 3 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, skimming off any milk solids that accumulate at the surface. Alternatively, combine 2 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil to increase the butter’s smoke point.

Some of my other favorite shrimp recipes:
Bobó de Camarão (Brazilian Shrimp Stew)
Carolina Shrimp Bog
Bam Bam Shrimp
New Orleans-Style Barbecue Shrimp
Pad Priew Wan Goong (Thai Sweet and Sour Stir-Fry with Shrimp)
Hawaii-Style Garlic Shrimp

Camarones al Ajillo - Shrimp in Garlic Sauce (Gluten-free, Paleo, Primal, Perfect Health Diet, Keto)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy

1 lb raw shrimp (shell-on or peeled okay)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 heads garlic (about 20 cloves), minced
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp clarified butter or ghee
juice of 1/4 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
cilantro to garnish

1. In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper; for best results, marinate for at least 1 hour but up to overnight.

2. Warm the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sauté until the shrimp is pink, curled, and starting to brown at the edges, about 4 minutes, tossing every minute.

3. Stir in the lemon juice and cilantro then serve immediately, atop Spanish Rice

*** Camarones a la Criollo: Prior to adding the shrimp in Step #2, make a sofrito by sautéing 1 finely-chopped onion, 1 finely-chopped green pepper, and 2 minced garlic cloves until softened, about 6 minutes. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup dry white wine (like vino seco) then stir in 1 cup tomato sauce, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, and 1/4 tsp ground cumin. Add the shrimp plus 1 cup Spanish olives and simmer until the shrimp is pink and curled, about 4 minutes, then proceed to Step #3.

*** Mexican-style Camarones al Ajillo: Add 1/2 tsp dried oregano and 1/4 tsp ground cumin to the shrimp marinade. 30 minutes before cooking, remove the seeds and stems from 1 dried guajillo chile pepper, then soak in warm water for 30 minutes. Strain then slice the chile into thin strips and add to the skillet with the shrimp during Step #2.

15 thoughts on “Camarones al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

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