Recipe: Gambas al Ajillo (Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp)

Gambas al Ajillo from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

When Rob and I used to live in Charlotte, we would go to this little tapas place called Zen Fusion for happy hour almost every Friday night, especially in the summertime when we could sit outside on their awesome patio. They had great sangria and a little menu of cheap appetizers, and we'd always order the same things--starting with gambas al ajillo. These succulent shrimp would come out swimming in a small cast iron pan of hot, bubbly, garlicky oil. The best.

My friend Becky of A Calculated Whisk and I decided to trade cookbooks this year; and when my copy of Paleo Planet (affiliate link) came to my door, I flipped through it and immediately knew that I'd be making her Garlicky Shrimp, or gambas al ajillo before anything else.

Garlicky Shrimp from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

Garlicky Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo) from Paleo Planet by Becky Winkler


  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed if desired
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika 
  • Pinch of cayenne powder


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the shrimp in a single layer, raise the heat to medium-high, and sprinkle on the salt, black pepper, paprika, and cayenne. Cook until the shrimp turn pink on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the shrimp are opaque throughout, another 2 or 3 minutes. Serve hot.
Garlicky Shrimp from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

My favorite thing about this recipe (other than the amazing flavor) is how quickly and easily it comes together. You probably have most of the ingredients already on hand, and the shrimp only take a few minutes! Easy and delicious--my favorite way to cook.

Gambas al Ajillo | Freckled Italian
Gambas al Ajillo from Paleo Planet | Freckled Italian

Check out the recipe Becky made from The Big 15 Paleo Cookbook right here (hint: just in time for Mardi Gras)!

Working on My Capsule Wardrobe (+ a J.Crew Factory SALE)

Working on My Capsule Wardrobe | Freckled Italian

Rob had the day off yesterday, so we spent a big chunk of our afternoon going through the closet in our bedroom and finally getting rid of all the clothes we don't wear anymore. It's taken me so long to commit to actually getting rid of stuff, and I thought my "no shopping until I purge the closet" rule was helping, but it turns out I'm cool with not shopping as long as it means I don't have to clean.

So anyway, Rob was buying new jeans online Saturday night and noticed that J.Crew was having a pretty huge sale (50% off everything), so we added bought a few staples for the wardrobe I want, but don't necessarily have yet--I know a lot of it is in my closet already, I just had to get rid of the pieces I don't use anymore. 

But I found that buying a few new things actually inspired me to get rid of the old stuff! Just a little piece of advice if you want to simplify your wardrobe but can't seem to get started: go ahead and buy one or two pieces you really like and think you'll use a lot, then use that little spark of excitement to inspire a real closet clean-out, once and for all. It seems counterintuitive to buy new things when you have plenty of old ones that still "work" (especially because I kept telling myself that I'd get new stuff after I got rid of the old stuff), but I guess I just needed that last little push.

I only purchased four new things, but the sale is still going on through today, so I thought I'd share what I got, plus a few other pieces I still have my eye on. Spoiler alert: almost everything is black or grey. The more I really hone in on my personal style, the more I realize it's just a whole lot of neutrals. I kept a few colored dresses and tops because a pop of color here and there can be crucial, especially in the spring and summer; but overall I prefer to stick with black, white, grey, and the occasional shade of nude.

  • I got these shorts in navy blue and I'm excited about them, even though I'm a little nervous because I tend to be super picky about shorts. I really only have one pair that I actually like, but they're similar to these in a lot of ways so I'm hoping they work out.
  • You just can't beat a classic v-neck tee. I got it in white and grey, because they're $9.50 each. 
  • I didn't get this but I feel like it's the perfect hat for spring and summer.
  • Aren't these earrings the cutest? I like that they're simple but kind of unique, so you could easily dress them up or down (having super versatile accessories seems like a really easy way to pare down your wardrobe).
  • I didn't see this skirt at first when we were checking everything out, but I might have to place another order because it looks really cute and super comfortable.
  • Pretty little flats under $60. I could really use a new pair of flats--I can't remember the last time I owned any.
  • These are my dream heels--chunky and classic enough to wear with everything--they'd look great with jeans, but could easily be dressed up with a pencil skirt or a dress. I have a similar pair made of leather so I didn't buy these, but the suede is just too cute!
  • Really excited about these sunglasses. The pair I bought a few months ago on Zappos already broke and I was so bummed.
  • I think I'm going to wear this tank top all the time--it's reversible so you can switch it up between v-neck and scoopneck. Two tanks for less than $10? I'll take it!

Check out everything I linked in the widget below:

What's in your closet right now? Are you getting rid of anything before spring rolls around?


This post contains affiliate links.

Long Weekend Thoughts + Currently

Currently | Freckled Italian

Happy Monday! Last week I ended up taking an unintentional break from the blog, which I always kind of hate. It was just one of those weeks--my mom left on Tuesday morning, which kind of threw me off my schedule (and gave me a case of the blues), then I was busy with cookbook stuff for a few days, I shot a new recipe I wanted to share here but didn't like the pictures enough to post them, and finally Rob's oldest brother and his family came to visit us for the weekend on Friday. We had such a great time with them, but I'm happy that today is a holiday so we can all take some time to regroup and get organized for several weeks of regular life. 

Since I was feeling a little uninspired on the blog front, I thought I'd ease back into it by sharing some other things that I've been up to lately. It's been months since my last Currently... post, so now seems like as good a time as any!

Thinking about spring and all the feelings I always feel when it comes around. I've been really homesick for Charlotte these last few weeks, and I think a lot of it is because it's been so beautiful here in the Bay Area. We had a ton of rain recently (and are in the middle of another wet spell right now), but for a few days last week it was sunny and warm and made me wish I was in my old neighborhood, walking to get coffee with a friend or teaching SkillPop classes again.

Listening to The Hamilton Mixtape. Can't get enough. We're seeing Hamilton this summer in San Francisco and I'm so excited about it.

Watching the new season of Girls. I forgot it started last week so Rob and I caught up last night and I was laughing so hard (also crying, whatever). It's one of my favorite shows and I can't believe this is the last season!

Reading lots of stuff, for the first time in a while. Joining a book club has been so great for me lately because I was really on a no-reading streak for a while and it was bothering me. Right now I'm reading White Teeth, and before that we did The Wangs vs. The World, Modern Lovers, and Mischling (affiliate links). All very different, but all written by women--that's kind of our thing. That, and frittatas.

Eating one of these fat bombs with a cup of tea every afternoon. 

Drinking Cherry Lime La Croix Curate like it's going out of style. It tastes like a Slurpee and I'm into it.

Looking forward to finally zeroing in on a functioning capsule wardrobe, seeing my second cookbook in print, going to Lake Tahoe with Rob and Ender at the beginning of March, and our third wedding anniversary in a couple months--can you believe it? I think we're going to go to Santa Barbara for a long weekend, so if you have any recommendations I'd love to hear them!

What are you currently thinking about, listening to, watching, reading, eating, drinking, and looking forward to? I'm sorry I've been so absent lately! I'm trying not to post just because I haven't posted in a few days; but I always love hearing from you, so let me know!

Photo by Oguz Uygur.