Gambas ala plancha is a very typical tapas dish. And rightly so, as shrimp and garlic are one of those combinations that I could eat a Boss Tweed amount of. Full gluttony mode. The elements in this dish are so simple – grilled tomatoes with nothing other than olive oil and salt and pepper; plain avocado; shrimp with garlic and chili – but the combination of flavors when gathered on your fork is complex and super fresh. The key is in using perfectly ripe and flavorful avocados and using slightly underripe tomatoes so they hold up to the grilling. This is one of those late sunset meals, best enjoyed over multiple glasses of wine.
For 2 to 4, depending on serving size
2 large firm green tomatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pinch chili flakes
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup arugula pesto (recipe below)
2 avocados, sliced
chopped parsley, for garnish
Lightly drizzle the sliced tomato with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over high heat for about 1 minute a side, just until you get grill marks. Set aside.
Heat a pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic, cooking for about 10 seconds, until the garlic starts to turn golden. Add the chili flake, cooking until the garlic looks a little more caramelized, and add the shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let the shrimp cook for about 2 minutes, or until they’re pink, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Careful not to overcook them!
To serve, spread the arugula pesto across the plate. Top with a few slices of grilled tomato and some avocado. Top with shrimp and garnish with a little parsley.
INGREDIENTS (ARUGULA PESTO)
For 3/4 cup of pesto
1 tablespoon almonds
1/2 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup finely grated parm, plus more
2 cups (loosely packed) fresh arugula
1/4 cup mild extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
Combine the almonds and garlic in a food processor, pulsing until they form a paste. Add the parm and arugula, pulse, adding a little olive oil at a time. Season with salt and pepper, and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.