The shrimp - gambas al a jillo - is sautéed with lots of garlic and then bathed in a brandy and lemon infusion. Mr. Andrés refers to it as "one of the most iconic Spanish tapas." Wilted greens are always good, and espinacas a la catalana - spinach with raisins and pine nuts - is typical of the Catalonian tradition to combine sweet and savory flavors.
Since the two items are really meant to be eaten as tapas or perhaps a light lunch, Andrés suggests olives, jamon Ibérico and/or Manchego or Cabrales cheese alongside to "build a feast," so I followed this advice and included some olives, and in my own South American twist I served the two over some tri-colored quinoa, which I thought worked nicely. A crisp Sauvignon blanc provided a lovely pairing to the meal.
As per his bio, Chef Andrés is a "passionate advocate for food and hunger issues" - another plus in my book. I will definitely be following him for years to come!
Here's the recipe:
Garlic Shrimp and Catalan Spinach
Total Time: 10 minutes Serves: 4
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing bread
1 Golden Delicious apple, cut into ¼-inch dice
4 tablespoons pine nuts
4 tablespoons seedless raisins
10 ounces baby spinach
Salt, to taste
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 chiles de árbol, crumbled
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 tablespoons brandy
5 tablespoons lemon juice, plus 4 lemon wedges for garnish
4 slices country bread, ¾-inch thick
1. Preheat broiler. Add 2 tablespoons oil to a large sauté pan over high heat. Once hot, add apples and cook until caramelized on all sides, 2-3 minutes.
2. Add nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 30 seconds. Add raisins and continue stirring until heated through, about 30 seconds.
3. Add spinach and toss until just wilted, 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat and season with salt.
4. Set a medium sauté pan with ¼ cup oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until it sizzles, about 30 seconds. Add chiles and cook 1 minute, making sure garlic does not burn. Turn heat to high and add shrimp.
5. Cook shrimp until they start to color, about 30 seconds. Add brandy and lemon juice to pan. Flip shrimp and continue to cook until they just curl, about 1 minute more. Remove pan from heat and season shrimp with salt.
6. While shrimp cook, brush bread with oil and place slices under broiler. Toast both sides until golden, about 1 minute per side.
7. Serve shrimp and spinach with toasted bread and lemon wedge.
Source: Garlic Shrimp and Catalan Spinach, The Wall Street Journal, March 15, 2013 —Kitty Greenwald