How to make shrimp scampi?

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Garlic prawns are one of the most popular tapas or rations in Spain, but they are also one of the most shattered dishes in our geography. Why? Sometimes because they are made with regional quarter prawns, peeled and deep-frozen from the afterlife, and sometimes because they are charred in oil until they acquire a rubbery and leathery texture that is not very pleasant. In addition, by tradition, they are usually presented in clay pots, which are not their best container because by conserving so much heat they cause them to overcook.

This recipe has basic and scarce ingredients: good olive oil, good prawn, garlic, chili, and salt. And then to each one's taste a splash of wine or vinegar, a little parsley or chives, depending on whoever cooks them. Of course, there is always a good piece of bread next to it to dip in all that sauce, which some even call a pill although it is never bound or emulsified because the prawns do not release that characteristic collagen of cod.

The ideal prawn for this task will be peeled, without head or tail, although I recommend that you buy it as-is and peel it yourself. The heads and shells can always end up in a good stock or sauce, although we have also seen restaurants such as Tripea that present them with garlic with all their skins, probably so that it serves to counteract the heat (but of course, then you spread yourself wholly to peel them).

About the preparation, I must point out something clear: the prawns enter the preparation right at the end so that their point is optimal. This means that we have two possibilities; the first one contemplates preparing the garlic and, once finished and with the fire off, introducing the prawns. The second would be the one defended by the chef Hugo Muñoz (Castizo, UMO, La Fonda Lironda ...): add the oil with the garlic, hot, on the shrimp already peeled and placed in another container, which will be cooked only with the heat residual of the sauce itself.

For this, the traditional thing is to use a white shrimp, it does not matter if it comes from Huelva or Malaga, but whether it is the Parapenaeus long rosters, with seven teeth on the front, nothing to do with the prawn (Penaeus vannamei) or the crystal shrimp. (Pasiphaea Silverado) or shrimp (Pasiphaea multidentate). After this sheet of class differentiation - not everything is the same, you have to learn to differentiate - all crustaceans of this type, even the shrimp or red shrimp, will be well received for this preparation.


For 4 persons

500 g of white prawn
1 or 2 cayenne, to taste
6 cloves of garlic
100 ml of mild olive oil (approximately, to the taste of each one depending on the sauce you want to have)
A few drops of fine wine

Peel the garlic cloves and chop them into slices.

Peel the prawns, removing the heads and shells; reserve for other purposes. Also, remove the intestine.

In a frying pan, arrange the oil and the garlic slices together with the cayenne. Heat up little by little, so that the garlic cloves are infused in the oil, leaving their flavor while they begin to brown.

When the garlic cloves are golden brown, remove with the help of a slotted spoon and set aside.

Place the peeled prawns in a container suitable to withstand heat.

Pour a few drops of fine wine and salt over them. Also, pour the hot garlic oil once we are going to serve them. Finish by adding the garlic and cayenne at the last minute.

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