Since we are all friends now, I’ll make a confession. I played the trombone for about twelve years during my school years. I’ve stopped playing in my non-school years but I still own a trombone and will bring it out occasionally at dinner parties if there is enough wine around. The trombone, while embarrassing, brought a number of good things into my life – some skills and experiences including a lovely trip to Spain and Portugal to study jazz. This was my first trip to Europe and I still keep a journal from this adventure somewhere in the backs of my closet.
Somewhere in Madrid I remember eating some pretty amazing shrimp for dinner. The shrimp were extremely large and swimming in garlic oil with large chips of fried garlic chips. We pealed the shrimp with our bare hands, dipped bread in the oil and washed it down with cold beers. This was a pure dream at the age of 19.
A made a variation of this dish to accompany the Pasta Puttenesca on Sunday night. I heated olive oil on medium low and added thin slices of garlic (about 6 cloves) until brown and then removed the chips. Using the same oil (minus the chips), I sautéed the shrimp (about a half pound) and added red pepper flakes and a bit of fresh thyme. Sprinkle with the crispy garlic chips and good salt. Dig in!