With all the festivals, exhibits and nights out in August, my time to cook has been hit hard. But summer is winding down; and I hope to write more regularly about my favorite subject.
There are hundreds of traditional dishes in the Algarve and across the country, some have been served for centuries and entice palates, passions and even rivalry. With such a rich heritage in food and drink, I look forward to exploring and sharing the traditional and more modern aspects of our diverse cuisine.
“Camarão à Guillo” is a popular style of shrimp here in the south, it has different nuances and techniques depending on region and cook, but it’s a simple and very tasty dish, so I’m sharing mine.
Garlic Shrimp (Serves 3 – 4)
1kg Fresh shrimp, with shell and heads on
10-12 Large garlic cloves, crushed and rough chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
9 Tbsp Mild olive oil
10 Tbsp unsalted butter (if you use salted butter you many want to omit salt below)
6 Tbsp Cilantro rough chopped
2 Tbsp Sweet paprika
1 tsp Piri Piri or Chili peppers (make as hot as you like)
Sea Salt & Black pepper
Briefly rinse shrimp in cold water and let drain.
In large sauce pan on medium low heat add olive oil and butter – let butter soften and blend with olive oil
Add crushed garlic skins can stay on, let garlic infuse with oil and butter
Add chopped onion – let onion cook 2-3 minutes
Add drained fresh shrimp
Turn heat up to medium high
Add chopped cilantro, paprika, Piri Piri, pinch of salt and black pepper
Let shrimp turn bright pink underneath, turn over to other side, temperature can be turned up a little more to brown garlic but careful not burn or over cook shrimp.
Once shrimp is firm and pink, the dish is done, but its ideal if both the garlic and onions look caramelized around edges. Take care not to over cook shrimp. It should be pink and a little golden but not wrinkly and dry.
Cooking at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time after the shrimp is added will help achieve the right result. If you want more sauce for dipping crusty bread, add a little more olive oil and butter before adding shrimp.
* If you can’t find fresh shrimp, you can use frozen, either way best results will come from shrimp with head and peel still on. If using frozen make sure shrimp is thoroughly defrosted and drained, before using.
*Careful when adding sea salt to seafood as it may over salt, but when used conservatively it gives just the right touch of flavor.
Best served hot with fresh crusty bread and a Very chilled bottle of Vinho Verde. I always serve this shrimp in same pan as it was cooked, to allow guests to dip bread and get messy. Provide lots of napkins the peeling causes lots of finger licking.