Gambas al Ajillo Tapas – Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Gambas al Ajillo Tapas – Shrimp in Garlic Sauce

Serving Tapas always remind me of my many trips to Barcelona.  One of my favorite tapas are Gambas al Ajillo or Shrimp in Garlic Sauce.  I love them with lots of crusty bread for dipping in that butter garlic sauce.

Tapas are small servings of Spanish foods.  They’re usually eaten with wine or cocktails in the evenings before dinner.  We enjoy them with a nice pitcher of Sangria.  They’re a great way to sample a variety of Spanish dishes.  I like to order a variety of Tapas and make a whole meal out of them.

Gambas al Ajillo are exactly like Shrimp Scampi.  They are delicious and best of all very easy to make!   I serve them hot off the stove on a mini cast iron skillet or a ceramic ramekin with lots of crusty baguette slices.  Here’s my recipe!

Gambas al Ajillo

Ingredients:

20 Medium shrimp (41/50 count) – peeled and de-veined with tail on

1 Tbs. Olive Oil

1/4 Stick Butter

1 Tbs. Finely Minced Garlic

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Directions:

Heat Olive Oil in small skillet.

Melt butter in hot oil.

Add garlic and cook until garlic starts to turn brown.  Stir constantly to keep garlic from burning.

Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turns pink.

Squeeze lemon juice over all.

Serve hot with crusty slices of bread.

Gambas al Ajillo Tapas - Shrimp in Garlic Sauce
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Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas is a favorite Spanish Tapa.  Tapas of course are small portions of Spanish food that’s usually served with cocktails at bars or as appetizers.  Or several types of Tapas can be cobbled together to make a meal.  I love Tapas!  It’s a great way to sample different types of Spanish food in one sitting.

Patatas Bravas is one of my favorites.  It’s a simple dish of fried or baked potato wedges or cubes in a spicy sauce.  I always order it when we’re in Barcelona or any other Spanish town or city.  But traveling may prove to be difficult this year and we won’t be going on our usual Med Cruise or other European vacations.  That’s why I’ve been making some of our favorite foods at home.  After all eating local foods is a big part of traveling!

Lately I’ve been on a Spanish food kick and Patatas Bravas has been on top of my to make list.  Everyone in my house loves it that it’s now become a family favorite.  I serve it as an appetizer and as a side dish, either way it’s delicious!

Most places serve it with a mayonnaise based Garlic Aioli, but I like it without.  You can make a simple Aioli by mixing together mayo, garlic powder, and lemon juice.  Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Patatas Bravas

Ingredients:

6-8 Yukon Gold Potatoes – peeled and cut into wedges

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

1 Tsp. Minced Garlic

2 Tbs. Smoked Paprika

2 Tsp. Chili Powder

2 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1/2 Tsp. Salt

1/4 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper

1/2 Tsp. Crushed Red Pepper flakes

Directions:

Place potato wedges in a large pot and cover with water.

Bring water to boil and reduce heat.

Cook uncovered for about 8-10 minutes or until just tender. (you don’t want them too soft, they will fall apart)

Drain and pat potatoes dry with paper towel.

Place in bowl.

Toss potatoes in Olive Oil and Garlic until evenly coated.

In a small bowl combine the rest of the spices and sprinkle over potatoes.

Toss potatoes in spice mix until evenly coated.

Place potatoes on a baking sheet, spread out in a single layer.

Bake in pre-heated 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until crispy.  Stir potatoes about half way thru baking time.

Serve warm with or with out Aioli.

Patatas Bravas
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Spanish Chicken & Rice

Spanish Chicken & Rice

Since COVID-19 has put a temporary halt to this year’s travel plans I’ve been bringing our favorite travel destinations to our home by making the foods we’ve always enjoyed during our travels.

I know that travel restrictions have been eased and many countries are avidly awaiting the return of tourists.  But right now our family isn’t quite yet ready to resume our regular travel routines which in the summer usually includes several weeks visiting our daughter in Italy and a cruise around the Med.  So until we are ready to resume our normal traveling lifestyle we’ll just have to make do with enjoying homemade dishes from the countries we love to visit.

Recently I’ve had a hankering for Spanish cuisine, it reminds me of fun filled days spent wandering Barcelona or exploring sunny Ibiza and the Canary Islands.  So I’ve been putting together some of my favorite Tapas and other Spanish dishes to enjoy with my pitcher of Cava Sangria.

One of our favorites is Spanish Chicken and Rice.  It’s pretty easy to make, you  use just 1 skillet!  I love the taste and smell of the spices used to create this simple dish.  I make a seasoning mix to use in this dish, I usually make a jar and keep it on hand to use on other dishes we love.   I hope you’ll love it too!

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Spanish Chicken & Rice

Ingredients:

6 Chicken thighs – remove the skin

3 Tbs. Olive OIl

1 Cup long grain white rice

2 1/4 cup chicken broth

1 Lemon

Spanish Seasoning Mix (recipe below)

Directions:

Make 1 recipe of Spanish Seasoning Mix

Mix together:

2 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

2 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1 Tsp. Chili Powder

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander

1/2 Tsp. Italian Seasoning

Place chicken thighs in a bowl and toss in 2 Tbs. Olive Oil until well coated.

Rub 1/2 of the Spanish Seasoning Mix on the chicken.  Be sure you rub it on all sides of the chicken thighs.

Heat remaining Olive Oil in a skillet.  Cook chicken about 3 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Chicken will not be cooked at this point.

Add rice, chicken broth, and other half of seasoning mix to the skillet.  Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over all and combine well.  Place chicken thighs on top of the rice and cover.

Cook for 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and chicken is fully cooked.

Garnish with slices of the remaining lemon half and chopped cilantro.  Serve hot.

  • Instead of long grain rice I sometimes use frozen cauliflower rice.  When I do this I reduce the chicken broth to 1 1/4 cups and cook until the chicken is fully done.  If it is too watery I remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated.


Spanish Chicken & Rice
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Patatas Bravas

Torta – Spanish Omelette

Torta can be different things depending on the type of cuisine and if the dish is sweet or savory.  It can refer to a cake or tart in several countries including Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  In Mexico it’s a sandwich.  In both Spain and the Philippines it can be an omelette.  Confusing, I know.

Well since today I want to make Tapas the word Torta will refer to a Spanish Omelette.  Tapas play a big part in Spanish social life.   Tapas refer to appetizers or small sized dishes that are served as snacks with beer, wine, or cocktails.  Sort of what in Hawaii we call pupus.  I love having Tapas, it gives you a chance to sample many different things at a time.  When we’re in Spain we usually start the evening at a cafe where I can order a refreshing pitcher of Sangria and an array of Tapas.  Many times we make a whole meal out of all the Tapas we order.

At home I sometimes make an assortment of Tapas and call it dinner or I can put together a “Tapas Board” for casual entertaining.  Tapas can be just about anything, as long as it’s a small portion.

One of my favorite Tapas is Torta, that Spanish Omelette.  It’s probably one of the easiest omelettes to make, but unlike most breakfast omelettes where the filling is folded into scrambled eggs Torta fillings are actually cooked into the egg and it comes out looking like a pie which is then cut into wedges for serving.  Served with fresh bread it’s delicious.

Here’s how to make Torta at home.  It’s really easy and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen.  Remember you can serve it as an appetizer or make a larger version and serve it for breakfast or lunch.  You can even make it into a sandwich, placed in a baguette it’s delicious and filling!

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Torta

Ingredients:

1 Potato – peeled and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin to slice it)

1/2 Onion thinly sliced

Olive Oil

2 Eggs beaten

Directions:

Heat about 1 tsp. Olive Oil in a frying pan.

Add onions and potatoes.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

Cook until onions start to caramelize or turn brown and the potatoes are soft.

Beat Eggs in a small bowl and add potato and onion mixture.  Stir well.

Add more Olive Oil to frying pan.  I use a 7″ pan to make this omelette if I’m making it for Tapas.

Pour egg mixture into pan.

Cook over medium low heat – you must cook this slowly to avoid burning the omelette.  Do not touch the omelette while it’s still liquidy.  The omelette will take on the shape of the pan.

Cook until the center is just about dry, it will still a bit soft in the center.

Gently separate the sides of the omelette from the pan.

Using 2 spatulas gently flip the omelette over.

Cook for about a minute then slip on to a serving dish.

Slice into wedges and serve.


Torta - Spanish Omelette
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