Gambas al Ajillo

This yummy grilled shrimp recipe comes from my husband who grew up in the Basque region of France, close to the border of Spain.

This simple dish is a spring and summer favorite. It’s simple to prepare in advance and grill when you’re ready. You can serve the shrimp with a salad of frisse and colorful tomatoes, or over a bed of rice. If using rice, try Forbidden Rice from Lotus Foods as the black rice adds a nice contrast in color.

Grilled Shrimp Recipe


  • 1 lb. shrimp,  medium to large size, shell on or off if you’re feeling ambitious
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon piment d’espelette (a Basque pepper which you can find in some markets.)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 2-3 ounces of brandy
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley leaves, chopped


  1. Add all ingredients to a bowl, toss in shrimp and stir well. Let sit for at least 45 minutes or better yet, you can leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to really get the flavor going.
  2. When you are ready, heat your grill to medium. Place your shrimp on skewers and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are pink. Be careful not to overcook as overcooked shrimp is not yummy.
  3. Serve with lemon wedges and an ice cold Rose. My current favorite is Fleurs de Prairie from Provence.

Karen Sagaspe is a Rhode Island native who enjoys food, wine, entertaining and travel. Cooking for friends and family is one of her favorite things to do. She has traveled extensively, lived in Florida, Paris, France and Cape Town, South Africa. When she isn’t in the kitchen, Karen is probably reading a book surrounded by her two Shih Tzu.