Camaron al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

 Many Cubans are of Spanish descent and the influence of Spain is present in the food. A quick meal that is elegant and delicious is “camarones al ajillo” or shrimp in garlic sauce.

Fresh shrimp is best but if you have some shrimp in the freezer, this is a meal you can have ready for company at a moment’s notice and it is a great meal to make as a special treat during the week.

This is generally served as a meal with rice or as an appetizer with crusty bread. Your other option, which is the way my family prefers, is to serve it over pasta. I think my husband was Italian in a former life; his profile was in all the statues in Rome.

One of the items that you should have in your pantry for any seafood is a good Spanish Sherry from the Jerez region of Spain. I always keep a bottle of Tio Pepe in the fridge. It adds a distinct flavor to shellfish that other wines do not have. Of course if you are in a pinch or can’t find Tio Pepe, use any dry sherry, NOT sweet sherry which will really ruin the meal.

All you need to make this dish a good quality of extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and shrimp. The olive oil does not have to cost you a fortune but it must be good quality. Cheapo olive oil is blah/stale. The really, really, good olive oil is wasted if used for cooking and best consumed on fresh bread with a little salt and pepper. Your other option is to use butter. Olive oil is the healthier alternative and does give a different flavor.

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • ½ lb of shrimp
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil or 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of Jerez dry sherry
  • lime juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • pasta (I prefer whole wheat pasta)


  1. Soak the shrimp in water with salt and a little lime juice while you prepare the rest of the ingredients
  2. Clean the shrimp; there is a handy, dandy, tool that helps with this task. Make sure you remove the black vein on the back of the shrimp, the shell, and the tail. Or go to a fresh seafood place and buy them freshly cleaned
  3. Dry the shrimp with paper towels
  4. Salt and pepper the shrimp to taste
  5. Squish the garlic until it is a paste, make sure you use a little salt; it will keep the garlic from flying all over your kitchen
  6. Heat the pan
  7. Add the olive oil
  8. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil until they just start to change color
  9. Add the Jerez Sherry
  10. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the smell of the alcohol goes away; be careful, you don’t want to burn everything. Be a scientist, use your senses to know when the food is ready, it takes practice but you will learn.
  11. Add the shrimp and cook until they turn pink and are no longer translucent, this only takes 3-4 minutes, DO NOT OVERCOOK THE SHRIMP, THEY GET TOUGH
  12.  Serve over pasta or rice.




Try making it both ways, once with olive oil, once with butter, let me know which is your favorite.

Muá, Muá!
Tía Ruth

This entry was posted in Appetizer, Main Course, Shrimp. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Camaron al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

  1. Dan Loffler says:


  2. Roger says:

    I will try your Camaron al Ajillo recipe it looks great! Check out my Langostino Pennette pasta with American Honey sauce.

  3. roger says:

    Awesome, just refreshed my blog and super glad to be commenting on your blog. Can’t wait for you to comment on my recipes!!

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