Joy Of Spanish Cooking

Gambes de l’Àvia (Grandma’s Shrimp)

Hola a todos! 🙂

I hope everyone’s doing well. Last week I was in Washington D.C and while there, I went to the Washington Fish Market. I love it! Lots of fresh seafood, fish, shellfish, and of course, the famous Chesapeake blue crab. But as soon as I arrived, I saw shrimp with the heads on. This is something that is very common in Spain. In fact, you never find them with their heads cut off. However, here in the US, it is very difficult to find them. So,  guess what? I went crazy buying them. I already had a ton of dishes in mind to make with them, so I bought plenty and froze some for the future.

A lot of people might be a little intimidated by shrimp with their heads on, and not know how to approach them. But you have to try it. For one, you get a lot more flavor by cooking these shrimp. They also tend to be juicier as the head retains a lot of the moisture of the shrimp. And most important, to eat them correctly, you have to suck out the inside of the shrimp head. Mmmmm!! Trust me on that if you haven’t tried it. If you can’t find these shrimp, or just can’t bring yourself to try them, cook another shrimp.

Last night, I decided to make my grandma’s shrimp recipe. This recipe is the easiest thing in the entire world. In just 15 minutes, you have a delicious dish. This is a classic recipe in my family and everyone loves my grandma’s shrimp. That’s why I had to name it Gambes de l’Avia. Gambes is catalan for shrimp and àvia is the catalan name for grandma.

These shrimp are so juicy and tasty. Forget the fork and knife, roll up your sleeves, dig in and get your hands dirty. 😛 Make sure you have some nice bread on hand because you will need to dip the bread in the delicious sauce that results naturally. I was transported to my avia’s kitchen after the first bite, and hopefully, you will too.

Serves 2.


– 14 large shrimp

– 1 clove of garlic

– 1/4 cup olive oil, plus a little extra

– salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 390F. If you use the shrimp with the heads on, cut the antennae and the legs off. In a large casserole dish, drizzle a little bit of olive oil and place the shrimp in a single layer. Drizzle a little more olive oil onto the shrimp and season with salt and pepper. Place into the oven.

Raw shrimp
Raw shrimp

While the shrimp is cooking, blend the garlic and a 1/4 cup of olive oil in a blender or food processor and add a pitch of salt and pepper.


After the shrimp has cooked for 5 minutes, pour the sauce on top of the shrimp (spread it out) and let it cook for another 10-13 minutes until the shrimp are cooked. The shrimp will be done when they look pink and curly.


Ready to eat! Bon  profit!!

15 thoughts on “Gambes de l’Àvia (Grandma’s Shrimp)”

    1. Thank you Joy! I was so happy to find heads on at the market, it’s so difficult. Glad to hear you like it too!

  1. Love simple recipes like this that highlight the main star! Grandmothers always know best!

  2. Pingback: The Liebster Award |

  3. Garlic prawns!! I think I need to search out more seafood this month and write about my experimentations with them. I’d like to buy Razor Clams.. Have you ever cooked and eaten those?

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Gambes de l’Àvia (Grandma’s Shrimp)

by Ivette time to read: 2 min
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