Camarones al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) is a dish that reminds me of trips to faraway coastal towns, restaurants overlooking the beach and lazy afternoons.
It reminds me of inexpensive but surprisingly satisfying meals. Of little restaurants by the water. Of cold beers and cool breezes blowing across my sand-covered bare feet.
And it reminds me of my hometown: Montecristi, where I took the pictures above.
Some of the good things in life need not be complicated. Camarones al Ajillo (Garlic Shrimp) is one of those things.
Few ingredients but strong flavors combine in this dish reminiscent of the Spanish “gambas al ajillo” probably where it comes from. Unlike its Spanish cousin, which is usually served as a ‘tapa’ or a starter, Dominican camarones al ajillo is a main dish, served with rice or tostones. It’s also nowhere near as oily. And like the Spanish dish, now served with pomp and circumstance in highfalutin restaurants the world over, this humble colonial cousin is best enjoyed close to the source.
It’s amazing that this dish always brings back such good memories. Romantic ones even. And I say amazing because, much like the garlic mellows out after the long cooking, there is not going to be much kissing after this dish.
Camarones al Ajillo Recipe (Garlic Shrimp)
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of mashed garlic
- 2 green bell peppers chopped into squares
- 2 lb [0.9 kg] of peeled shrimp
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt (or more, to taste)
- 2 limes cut into 4 quarters (for garnishing)
- In a heavy saucepan heat the oil over very low heat. Cook and stir the garlic until it releases its aroma (about 2 mins). Stir in the bell peppers and cook and stir for another minute. Add the shrimps, and a cook and stir until they become pink throughout.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Garnish with the limes and serve with with tostones.