Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) – Did Someone Say Topless?!?!

shrimp with garlic and lemon - gambas al ajillo y limon
“Where are we going?”
A tapas bar.
What?” He paused and glanced sideways at me. “No way!!”
I just kept driving.
Rubbing his hands together like a mad scientist, he purred, “Yessssss.”

But he ended up sorely disappointed when he realized that he wasn’t going to get to buy me a lapdance afterall.

I actually don’t like the word “tapas.” Its being confused with “topless,” especially with the word “bar” appended to it all the time, is not the problem. It’s pretty funny, actually, when someone’s hopes of having the disgusting pleasure of watching a half-nekkid, half-plastic barbie doll grind her very taut, yet taut in all the most unnatural places, body all over me are dashed with glass of orange juice spiked with red wine. (I have never ever once set foot in any of “those” dance clubs so truly, I have no authority to write about what the women look like nor what they do, so I will stop right now.) No, I don’t like the word tapas because it’s always used wrong. Did I say wrong? I meant wrong-ly. Oh god, here comes petty in pink.

Tapas are Spanish. Tapas are small portions. Tapas are also accompaniments to drink. However, just because paella is Spanish does not mean it is a tapa. Just because a side salad is served on a small plate does not mean it is a tapa. And just because Buffalo wings taste great with an MGD doesn’t mean they are tapas! It’s not some weird, half-assed algebraic theorem in which “if one of three, then tapas.” Tapas must meet all three conditions! All three silly stupid petty conditions, okay?!?!

*breathe* I feel better now.

And yet, I put Gambas al Ajillo into a giant bowl, served it, along with everything else (some of which weren’t really Spanish), buffet-style around my dining room table, and called it “tapas.” Tapas! Spanish? Check. Drinking? Check. Small portions on small plates? *gasp!* They were giant family-style bowls from which each guest ladled, scooped, spooned, etc. a little bit of everything onto to their own ginormous dinner plates. It was a f–king buffet!

I should be hung by my apron strings. No, just for that, I should go spend the night in a topless bar.

These aren’t true, authentic gambas al ajillo, which are shrimp sauteed with only garlic. There is quite a bit of lemon in the sauce and I also added onions, but since they aren’t real tapas anyway, who the hell cares?!

Gambas al Ajillo

In a large bowl, combine zest from 1 lemon, ½ c. fresh lemon juice, 2 cloves finely minced garlic, ¼ c. dry white wine (from Spain, natch), ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil, ½ small red onion thinly sliced, and about 2 sprigs finely chopped fresh parsley.

Rinse, de-vein, and peel about 2 lb. large shrimp. You can take the tails off, but I left them on as “handles.”

Poach peeled shrimp in simmering water for about 1 minute, until they are opaque. Remove from water, and immediately place into the bowl with the sauce. Toss to coat the hot shrimp, cover, and let stand at room temperature until they are ready to serve, or in the refrigerator if making it ahead. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with toasted, thinly sliced bread.

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