Last week my friend Mick returned from a month-long vacation in Europe. Several of my friends have gotten in the habit of emailing me pictures of food from their vacations when they find something particularly good. Mick sent me a picture of a dish he had in Spain that he referred to as "shrimp pil-pil." I had never heard of such a thing but it looked amazing, so I went online to find out exactly what it is.
It's very similar to gambas al ajillo (shrimp with garlic): it's shrimp with garlic, oil, and peppers, usually served in an ceramic dish and accompanied with crusty bread. I immediately made plans to make it soon, reading different recipes and gathering ideas. Last night seemed like a good time to experiment.
As an appetizer, I toasted some crostini and topped it with Drunken Goat. I have written of this cheese many times so a brief description is all that is necessary: a Spanish goat cheese submerged in red wine for 72 hours. To offset the mild, fruity nature of the cheese I baked some prosciutto in the oven for twenty minutes, crisping it up. I then sprinkled some basil over the pieces.
For the shrimp, I sauteed chopped garlic in olive oil and butter until it was golden, then added two kinds of peppers - pepperoncini and sweet peppers - for a couple minutes, turning up the heat. I coated the shrimp with paprika and added them; they cooked quickly, no more than three minutes. Most pil-pil recipes call for a dusting of parsley, which I love but Elizabeth does not. So I used cilantro instead, along with a few sprinkles of red chili flakes.
I poured the shrimp into a ceramic container (a Trader Joe's fan might recognize it as one of the vessels the TJ's creme brulee comes in) and served it with slices of bread. It was fantastic. I will absolutely make this again, although next time I will add some more sweet peppers and also a few drops of sherry.