In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the garlic, bay leaf, and red-pepper flakes and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the shrimp, salt, and black pepper to the pan and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the sherry, lemon juice, and parsley.
Fish Alternatives: Squid would be delicious with the garlic sauce. Cook it quickly (for about two minutes), or it will become tough and rubbery. Sea scallops are another alternative; cook them for about two minutes per side, without stirring, so they brown nicely.
Dark shrimp veins are usually removed for aesthetic purposes. We find that it's not essential to take them out, especially if you're pressed for time.
Wine Recommendation: Bold Mediterranean flavors welcome an easygoing wine such as a dry rosé from Spain or the south of France. If you prefer a wine with a bit more sweetness, try a white zinfandel from California.