How to Make Grilled Gambones: A Delicious Spanish Delicacy

Grilled gambones, also known as grilled prawns, are a mouthwatering Spanish delicacy that is loved by seafood enthusiasts around the world. This simple yet flavorful dish is a staple in Spanish cuisine and can be enjoyed as an appetizer or a main course. In this article, we will explore the art of making gambones a la plancha, step by step, and discover the secrets to achieving the perfect grilled prawns.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients to make this delectable dish:

  • 1 pound of fresh gambones (prawns)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Preparing the Gambones

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, let’s move on to preparing the gambones:

  1. Start by cleaning the gambones. Remove the heads and shells, leaving the tails intact. Devein the prawns by making a shallow incision along the back and removing the dark vein.
  2. Once cleaned, rinse the gambones under cold water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Ensuring that the prawns are dry will help them achieve a nice sear when grilled.
  3. In a bowl, combine the minced garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create a marinade.
  4. Place the gambones in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them. Make sure each prawn is coated evenly. Let them marinate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Grilling the Gambones

Now that the gambones are marinated and ready, it’s time to fire up the grill and cook them to perfection:

  1. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If you don’t have a grill, a grill pan or a cast-iron skillet will work just fine.
  2. Once the grill is hot, place the gambones on the grates or in the pan. Cook them for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until they turn pink and develop a slight char.
  3. While grilling, baste the gambones with the remaining marinade to enhance the flavors and keep them moist.
  4. Once cooked, remove the gambones from the grill and transfer them to a serving platter. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the prawns for a fresh and vibrant touch.

Serving Suggestions

Gambones a la plancha can be enjoyed in various ways. Here are a few serving suggestions to elevate your dining experience:

  • Serve the grilled gambones with a side of crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices.
  • Pair them with a refreshing salad dressed with lemon vinaigrette for a light and balanced meal.
  • For a more substantial dish, serve the gambones over a bed of saffron-infused rice or alongside grilled vegetables.
  • Don’t forget to provide lemon wedges on the side for an extra burst of citrusy flavor.


1. Can I use frozen gambones instead of fresh ones?

While fresh gambones are always preferred for the best flavor and texture, you can use frozen prawns if fresh ones are not available. Just make sure to thaw them thoroughly and pat them dry before marinating and grilling.

2. Can I substitute smoked paprika with regular paprika?

Smoked paprika adds a unique smoky flavor to the dish, but if you don’t have it on hand, regular paprika can be used as a substitute. However, the smoky element will be missing from the final result.

3. How do I know when the gambones are cooked?

Gambones cook quickly, and overcooking can result in rubbery prawns. Look for a vibrant pink color and a slight char on the outside. The prawns should be firm to the touch but still juicy.

4. Can I use the same marinade for other seafood?

Absolutely! The marinade used for gambones can be used for other seafood like shrimp, scallops, or even fish fillets. It adds a delightful flavor to any seafood dish.

5. Can I make gambones a la plancha in advance?

Gambones are best enjoyed immediately after grilling. However, you can marinate the prawns in advance and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook. This way, you can save time and ensure the flavors have enough time to develop.


Gambones a la plancha is a simple yet exquisite dish that showcases the natural flavors of prawns. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can create a delicious grilled prawn dish that will impress your family and friends. Remember to clean and marinate the gambones before grilling, and don’t forget to baste them with the marinade for extra flavor. Serve the gambones with your favorite accompaniments and enjoy a taste of Spain right in your own home. ¡Buen provecho!

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