Recipe and photos contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Veronica Shine
Separated from the mainland of Spain by a mere 100 miles are the Balearic Islands: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. The isles are so close to Spain, and yet the Balearic Islands aren’t quite the Spain of preconceived images.
Many Balearic dishes are uniquely their own, with flavors reminiscent of other influences. They profess their own blending of ancient myth, fantasy, and paradise. The people and language are as a rule similar to those of mainland Catalonia (Cataluña), and for the most part, so is the cuisine. However, Italy and France are not so far away either, and their culinary influences are also apparent. Their historical influences extend to Ancient Greece: Greek myth says that Hercules discovered the Golden Apples in Mallorca. The Greeks left their imprint on Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca. Romans, Moors and Barbary pirates, also made their way through the islands and left their mark. Camarones al Mojo de Ajo is one of the most popular preparations for prawns in the Balearic Islands.
An abundance of prawns are fished off their western Mediterranean coastal waters. Anyone you serve this dish to will never guess how simple it is to prepare. Besides the prawns, garlic and fresh parsley are important components. Parsley grew wild on the Balearic Islands, and Hippocrates is said to have used it for medicinal purposes, as a cure for a variety of ailments.
The Romans discovered another purpose for parsley and soon afterwards, there never was a salad or sauce served without it. Prawns are normally used with this recipe but large shrimp will suffice for those residing stateside. Alternatively, shrimp or prawns can be substituted with fresh lobster meat. The latter makes for an even more special meal to serve.
1 lb. large shrimp peeled and deveined
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup of either sherry or white wine
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1) In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil.
2) Lower the heat; add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 1 minute – or until garlic starts to get slightly brown.
3) Add the shrimp, wine, lemon juice and the paprika. Remove it from the heat when you add the wine to keep it from flaming up.
4) Turn the heat up to high and stir all ingredients together well.
5) Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink and start to curl.
6) Transfer to a serving plate, topped with the chopped fresh parsley.
7) Serve with rice or orzo and a green vegetable such as spinach as a side.