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Gambas (Prawns/Shrimp) Pil-Pil

Created and presented by Myra Kornfeld

Gambas (Prawns/Shrimp) Pil-Pil
This Basque-region tapa (appetizer) – called gambas al ajillo elsewhere in Spain – is usually served at the table sizzling in a little dish or metal pan.
You can substitute squid (cut into rings 1/2 inch wide) or sea scallops for prawns.

As Myra says, “This classic dish is served in tapas bars all over Spain. Shrimp is cooked in individual gratin dishes or ‘cazuelas' in hot garlicky olive oil.”
“The dish is as easy as it is delicious, and the aroma as it cooks is heavenly. Serve it with crusty bread to mop up the garlicky sauce.”
Serves 4

8 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 bay leaves
4 dried hot chili peppers (e.g., chilies de árbol)
2 serrano chilies, minced
Organic extra virgin olive oil to fill a pan 1/8th to 1/4 inch deep
1 pound Pacific spot prawns (large or jumbo), defrosted, peeled, and deveined
  • Preheat the oven to 500˚F. Have ready four individual ovenproof gratin dishes or one big one, large enough to cook the prawns in one layer.
  • Divide the garlic among the four dishes.
  • Sprinkle dish each with parsley, one bay leaf, one dried red chili pepper sliced in half; 1/2 minced serrano, and 1/8 to 1/4 inch of olive oil. Sprinkle each gratin dish with salt. Put the gratin dishes in the oven and cook until the oil is sizzling hot and the garlic is just starting to color, about 10 minutes.
  • Add the prawns. Return to the oven and cook 5 minutes or so, just until the prawns are bright pink and cooked heated through. Serve hot.

© Myra Kornfeld. All Rights Reserved

About Myra Kornfeld

A veteran restaurant chef, recipe developer and editor, private chef and menu consultant, Myra Kornfeld believes that good food, enjoyed in good company, with great conversation is among the greatest of life's pleasures.

Myra is the acclaimed author of several great cookbooks, including these titles available at

  • The Healthy Hedonist: More than 200 Delectable Flexitarian Recipes
  • The Healthy Hedonist Holidays
  • The Voluptuous Vegan: More than 200 Sinfully Delicious Recipes.

Myra Kornfeld is also the Head Chef & Content Manager of, an instructor at The Natural Gourmet School of Health and Culinary Arts, the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, and the graduate program in Nutrition and Integrative Health at the Tai Sophia Institute.

Learn more at
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