Shrimp and avocado tacos
August 22, 2010 § 4 Comments
Even though I generally think of myself as falling into that category of “people who like to cook“, sometimes I kind of wonder. Right now, for example, I feel more like resting on the laurels of “one who has cooked well and enjoyed it at times” rather than wanting to actually cook up anything notable. Also, lately, every time I’ve noticed I’m hungry, I look up and discover I’m either in an airplane, visiting someone, driving the hour and a half commute to my summer worksite, too grouchy to be trusted with a knife, or too hot to consider eating anything other than flavored dry ice. Not exactly a recipe for being inspired to cook. And I find it so much more of a schlog to cook when I’m not inspired (gee whiz, there’s a surprise).
Mostly I’ve simply been adding salt and pepper to everything that crosses my path and putting it on the grill. And, while fulfilling the role of “home cooked food that nourishes and does not offend the palate”, it’s not particularly interesting. Someone get this girl a tantalizing recipe, stat!
Thankfully, inspiration fell out of my freezer (literally) in the unlikely form of a bag of frozen shrimp and some corn tortillas. Shrimp tacos! Now that’s something worth hauling the frying pan out over. Especially shell-on shrimp. I know, I know, shell-on shrimp seem like way more of an effort and are way messier than already peeled shrimp. But, you see, they cook up infinitely much better. Peeled shrimp almost always wind up over-spiced and over-cooked to a rubbery texture. The shell protects this from happening, keeping moisture against the delicate meat to keep it tender and lightly flavored. Plus, it’s really kind of wonderful and fun to get your fingers goopy and sticky, peeling shrimp to put into your taco. So, why not just go for it?!
I was inspired by a Cajun shrimp recipe I’ve made before to sautee some spices, then add the shrimp, then add in some butter and lime juice at the last minute to form a luscious, zesty sauce. Then we peeled the shrimp, nestled them in corn tortillas, added some avocado, chopped heirloom tomato, and lettuce, and drizzled the sauce all over them. We were sadly lacking in margaritas, but it was scrumptious! And what do you know, it reminded me that maybe I do like to cook, after all.
Shrimp and Avocado Tacos (serves 2-3)
- About 16 medium shrimp, deveined but not peeled (thawed, if they were frozen)
- 4 Tbs. butter, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 1 large, ripe tomato (preferably a really flavorful heirloom variety), chopped
- mixed greens, or chopped butter lettuce
- 6 corn tortillas
- a little bit of crumbled queso fresco (fresh cheese) and some chopped cilantro, if desired
- In a large sautee pan, heat 1 Tbs. of butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, and spices, and sautee for a couple of minutes until it becomes very fragrant. Add the lime juice and shrimp and sautee, stirring, until they become opaque and curl up (just a few minutes).
- Take off the heat and add in the rest of the butter, stirring until it melts. Scoop out the shrimp with a slotted spoon, and scrape the remaining sauce into a little bowl.
- Peel the shrimp and discard the shells (you may wish to squeeze some of the sauce that will be clinging to them onto your tortillas).
- Divide the shrimp, avocado, tomato, and lettuce between the tortillas. Drizzle each taco with sauce, and a little cheese and cilantro, if desired. Serve with a big salad and a refreshing drink.