After a Cooking Class with us there are two things very clear for everyone: the Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine cannot exist without good extra virgin olive oil, neither without garlic! And that for many foreigners in “exorbitant” quantities that challenge their knowledge, but to which one can get used to effortlessly.

 A good example of this would be the delicious “pil-pil prawns”. This crustacean, the dish is primarily made out of, can be found along the Andalusian coast and is a popular ingredient in many traditional and modern recipes. In fact there is no tapas bar that appreciates itself that wouldn’t offer it in this version. It’s a classic, fast, simple, tasty and healthy- you cannot ask for more.

gambas pil pil recipe

easy shrimp recipes

However it is not only the quality of the prawns, but the “pil-pil” sauce (Pimentón de la Vera, Garlic, a good Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil and chili) that provides it with character  and its unmistakable flavor.

It couldn’t be easier: A cazuela (Spanish clay pot) is heated up and a good splash of extra virgin olive oil is added until the entire bottom is covered (don’t leave any free space, go for it!). Incorporate several cloves of garlic cut into slices and cayenne chili to your liking and sauté everything.

pimenton de la vera dulce

Pimentón de la vera dulce

spanish extra virgin olive oli for pil pil prawns

Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the “Cazuela


  • Peeled prawns (20 approximately)
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • Parsley
  • Pimentón de La Vera dulce (sweet paprika powder).  If you can’t find it in your grocery store, this is a good one available on amazon You can buy the spicy one if you don’t have the cayenne pepper.
  • Chili (Dried cayenne pepper). Whole dried or ground cayenne.
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil.
  • Salt
  • Prep: 20 min
    Cook: 10 min

  • Yield: 4 servings


  1. Chop the garlic in slices, some chili (depending on your preferences) and parsley.
  2. Add quite a lot of olive oil in an earthenware casserole until covering the entire bottom and heat it up.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, chili and parsley.
  4. Once all these ingredients are slightly fried, incorporate the peeled prawns (without head) and cook them in the pot for three or four minutes, until they have a pink color. Keep in mind that the earthenware pot keeps the contents warm up to half an hour, so the shrimps will continue cooking once removed from the fire.
  5. Sprinkle a teaspoon of paprika powder (spicy or sweet) over everything and some salt.

Very important: It needs to be served sizzling hot!

Tip: Cazuelas come in different shapes and sizes and can be found anywhere in Spain. Pil Pil prawns are normally served in 12-16 cms diameter cazuelas  like this one sold on amazon.   But don’t worry if you don’t have a cazuela, it works also great in a small pan.

So there’s just left to say: make sure to get a good bread, because you definitely want to dip it into this tasty sauce! Enjoy!

About the Author: Spain Food Sherpas

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