Tell your friends to gather around the table with bread at the ready because you're coming with a sizzling pan of garlicky and spicy shrimp and they better be ready to dig in...
Los Diamantes, with its fast-paced, brightly lit and loud, raucous dining room is no less than an institution in Granada. The atmosphere is the same in its three locations - a draw for the local working lunching crowd as well as so highly recommended it’s filled throughout the rest of the day with savvy tourists and visitors. Focussed mainly on serving fish dishes with a sprinkling of veggies here and there, you can tell the fish is as fresh as can be and when fried, so lightly battered as to melt in your mouth.
Who knows how they make any money at all as the generous helpings of free tapas here will ensure you’re well fed for the evening with a few drinks under your belt without spending anything on food. However, if you decide not to try any of the raciones (the non-tapa dishes), you’ll miss out on our favourite dish in the restaurant: Gambas Pil Pil, a garlickly, spicy, sizzling shrimp dish. As soon as it’s served, dive in quickly and savour the roasting-hot shrimp on your tongue while with the other hand have a piece of bread ready to dip into the still-bubbling sauce. Here we pair it with a cooling, fresh salad of cucumber and dill that keeps the hot spices and garlic of the shrimp at bay.
What we're aiming for:
1 sizzling pan of Gambas Pil Pil suitable for sharing 1 large salad to share - pre-made about an hour before the shrimp dish Enough bread for dipping
For the sizzling Gambas Pil Pil:
5 or so good glugs of olive oil (let's say a glug is approx. a tablespoon)
4 garlic cloves (peeled and ready to be minced into the pan)
1 tsp of red chili pepper flakes (we are pretty liberal with this measurement to add to the spiciness)
1 tsp of sweet paprika
1 lb of shrimp (cleaned, peeled and de-veined)
Half a lemon ready to squeeze into the pan
2 Tbs of dry sherry (optional)
Sea salt (such as Maldon)
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tbs chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 fresh stick of bread that has a nice crusty outside while being softly fresh on the inside (we use the type the Spanish call 'Rustica') cut into sizeable chunks for dipping
Before you get started: - Make sure you've made the cucumber salad (recipe below) at least an hour before starting the shrimp as the salad needs to cool in the fridge before serving. - If your shrimp is frozen, just pop it in a bowl of room-temp water for 10mins; drain and repeat; and it should be ready to cook - Now get everyone around the table now as your dish will be ready in 4 minutes and they should be waiting with forks ready while the pan is still sizzling!
The Algorithm: - Pick a saucepan you'll be happy to bring to the table as is (we like to use our smallest Le Crueset bright blue saucepan) - Warm the olive oil in the pan over a medium heat - Mince in the garlic, pepper flakes and paprika - Sauté for one minute until the fragrances have you salivating (hopefully not into the pan) - Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp - Squeeze in that half lemon (and if it's not that juicy, go ahead and add the other half) - Add the sherry if you're using it - Stir it all together until the shrimp looks like it's cooked all the way through, i.e. opaque, about 3 minutes - Turn off the heat - Briefly season with the salt and pepper, sprinkle with fresh parsley and bring straight to the table to serve!
We like to serve our Gambas Pil Pil with a refreshing, cool salad to keep the tongue from burning. How about this scrumptious cucumber and yogurt salad that ensures the taste buds get tingled and soothed at the same time! Make this an hour ahead of when you intend to cook the shrimp as it requires time in the fridge to get deliciously cool.
For the Cucumber and Yoghurt Salad:
125g of plain greek yogurt (1 of those individual little tubs)
1 large, fresh cucumber (to see if it’s fresh, check that each end is firm and you’re good to go)
A small, red onion
1 clove of garlic, peeled and ready to be minced into the dish
A lemon cut in half, ready to squeeze one half into the dish
A handful of dill, chopped up (plus more to sprinkle as garnish)*
A handful of fresh mint, chopped up (plus more to sprinkle as garnish)*
1 teaspoon of maldon salt
A good few cranks of the black pepper mill
*Save a few sprigs of dill and fresh mint to chop up right before serving the dish as they will wilt in the hour it takes for the salad to sit in the fridge.
The Algorithm: - Slice the cucumber into very thin circles - Slice the onion thinly and then roughly chop up the slices - Toss the cucumber slices and red onion into a largish bowl (that will fit into your fridge)
- In a separate smallish bowl, mix up the yogurt, dill, fresh mint, salt and pepper; squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and mince in the garlic clove - Make sure this is all mixed well and pour over the cucumbers and onions - Taste to check if it needs more salt and pepper, add as needed - Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving with dill and fresh mint on top
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With the bread for dipping into the garlicky and spicy sauce of the shrimp, and plenty of salad to keep you cool, this meal is perfect for sharing on a warm sunny afternoon with a jug of red wine washing it all down.