I have no idea if this is really Spanish. All I know is it was served to me at the lovely home of my beautiful Spanish friend Mari Luz. She put on a full tapas spread for me, which included these shrimp, chorizo, bread, cheese, roasted red pepper salad, olives, tortilla, and I don't know what else. It was divine. There we were, two suburban moms on a Thursday, eating this fabulous food, drinking a delicious wine, and chatting away. Did I say the word lovely yet?
Watching carefully, but not taking official notes, I really wanted to remember how Mari Luz made these shrimp. I'll say hers were better, because they were, but what I replicated wasn't half bad. It's hard to say which is tastier - the shrimp themselves or the luscious oil they cook in. Whatever. Pass the bread.
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, tail on (jumbo is great, large is fine)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, peeled and barely smashed, but kept whole
8 small, dried red chiles
1 tablespoon smoked Spanish paprika
Salt the shrimp. In a large skillet (cast iron is great), heat the oil over medium low heat. Add the garlic and chiles and let them simmer carefully for 5 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn't brown, but just hums. Turn up the heat to medium, move the garlic and chiles to the outer edge of the pan, and add the shrimp in a single layer, not crowding the pan. It'll take a few batches to do them all. Sprinkle with some of the paprika. After 2-3 minutes, turn and cook til just barely done on the second size. Remove to a pretty, rimmed dish and keep warm. Continue with the rest of the shrimp, adding paprika to each batch.
When finished, pour the oil, garlic and chiles over the shrimp in the dish and serve at once. Don't forget the bread, you'll want plenty to mop up the delicious oil.