SHRIMP AJILLO (Spanish pan-seared shrimp with garlic, ham and red bell peppers, for four)
2 pounds extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), shelled, leaving the tail and the first joint of the shell intact, and deveined
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sugar
8 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin lengthwise
½ cup olive oil
¼ pound thick-sliced, cooked ham, chopped
½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup Oloroso sherry
minced parsley for garnish
lemon wedges as an accompaniment
crusty bread as an accompaniment
1. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Sprinkle shrimp on both sides with salt and let stand between layers of paper towel for 10 minutes. Discard paper towel and toss with pepper and sugar in a medium bowl.
2. In a large skillet cook the garlic in the oil over moderate heat, stirring, until it is golden and transfer it with a slotted spoon to a small bowl.
3. Add the ham and red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook, stirring, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the ham deepens in color. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring, until pepper is softened.
4. Add shrimp and sauté over moderately high heat, turning shrimp, 2 minutes. Add sherry and garlic and simmer, stirring, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 minute more. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with parsley and serve accompanied by lemon wedges and bread.
adapted from The Best of Gourmet 1993