Dirty Epic Gambas Pil Pil

Posted on: 6 August 2010 1 comment

There is a legendary tale about a famous zoophiliac from county Wicklow by the name of Gus Kearney. He had a thing for donkeys. A MAJOR thing for donkeys.

The story goes that he was up in court for the second time, on a charge for interfering with a certain barnyard animal. He’s found guilty. Upon sentencing, the judge turns round to Gus and says:

“Mr. Kearney. This is a most heinous crime, one that you’ve been charged with not once, but twice. What do you have to say in your defense?”

“It backed into me your honour.”

I’ve been telling that yarn for so long now that the very mention of Wicklow brings on images of a village idiot making sweet, sweet love to a mule. Unfair, I know. Especially to this week’s contributor, SJ Wai, the lead singer from Dirty Epics who hails from The Garden of Ireland herself.

When I initially asked SJ to share a recipe, she got all excited and started telling me about her pan fried Chinese dumplings.  I proceeded to tell  her about the version that I had already uploaded. The two recipes appeared to be identical. If looks could kill…. Thankfully, she had other culinary treats within her arsenal. Namely, a fantastic take on the Basque dish Gambas Pil Pil,  SJ’s extra addition is some crab claws.   Fresh, zingy, spicy seafood. What’s not to like?


SJ Wai’s Garlic and Chilli Gambas & Crab Claws

Gambas can be purchased fresh in any good fishmonger. SJ  favours Kish in Smithfield for quality and price. Crab claws are also available there in cooked packets of approximately a dozen.


Photo taken from The Dubliner magazine.

INGREDIENTS (serves 2) :

8 fresh whole gambas

(to ensure freshness when purchasing have a sniff. If they’re a bit on the fishy side, beware, but if their eyes are still wet and and unshrivelled and they don’t smell too strong, you’re good to go)

One packet of crab claws

A slice of butter about an inch and a bit thick

Some fresh green and red chillis

About 4/5 cloves of fresh garlic

White and black pepper


8/10  cherry tomatoes

Cayenne pepper

1 Lemon


  • First rinse the gambas under fresh water.
  • Finely slice the garlic cloves. If you’re a bit worried about garlic breath, keep them chunky so you can avoid them easily!
  • Finely slice the chilli peppers.
  • Heat a big skillet and add the butter being careful not to burn it.
  • Add the chillies.
  • Add in the gambas first. It’s better to keep them whole so you get a much stronger flavour. Keep a lid on them to prevent them drying out.
  • If you want you can add a little water. Its nice to have plenty of sauce for dipping bread.
  • Add in the cherry tomatoes and the seasoning. I like lots of pepper in mine. Be careful not too make it too spicy though.
  • Throw in the crab claws when the gambas are nearly done. Keep the lid on it so its juicy and full of flavour.
  • Cooking should take no longer than 10  minutes depending on the size of the gambas. The cherry tomatoes should be really squishy.

To serve: pop the skillet in the middle of the table and squeeze some lemon juice over it. Slice some crusty bread for dipping and maybe enjoy a nice glass of gently chilled Beaujolais.

Check out Dirty Epics when they’re playing on Arthur’s Day on September 23rd.

Comment by Uncle Terry August 8, 2010

This strangling of the mother duck story has got me wondering about you and now I’m worried about your parentage – keep back you spawn of the devil!

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