Wednesday, August 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Shrimp tacos in less time than takeout pizza

Food Deadline Shrimp Tacos

This Mar. 17, 2014, photo shows a sweet and tangy shrimp taco in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

By
From page B6 | May 28, 2014 |

What I really wanted was pizza. But I was too lazy to drive down to the pizza shop to get it, and they only deliver if you order $40 or more. And as much as I like pizza, that’s a lot of pizza.

So I needed a dinner that was equally comforting, equally flavorful, but required even less effort and time than heading into town. My inspiration? Well, aside from the pizza I wasn’t having, that is . . . A 1-pound bag of frozen raw shrimp.

I firmly believe that if you like shrimp, you should always have a few bags of them in the freezer. They thaw quickly, and cook even more quickly. As in minutes. I decided to convert my bag into sweet-and-tangy shrimp tacos, a good eat-with-your-hands sort of comfort food that would come together with minimal fuss.

Aside from the cooking of the shrimp, use this recipe just as a guide. I like to top my tacos with soft goat cheese and avocado, but use whatever you like. Ditto for the flour tortillas; corn would be fine, too. Or if you really want, take all the same ingredients and dump them over a plate of tortilla chips for easy nachos.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the tiny amount of sugar added when cooking the shrimp. It’s a trick I learned from Alex Guarnaschelli. It acts like salt to help highlight the natural briny-sweet flavor of the shrimp.

SWEET-AND-TANGY SHRIMP TACOS

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

2 tablespoons butter

½ medium red onion, diced

1 pound shelled, raw large shrimp

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ cup thinly sliced Peppadew peppers

Ground black pepper

Four 8-inch flour tortillas

1 heart romaine lettuce, finely chopped

2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and sugar and saute until just barely pink and firm, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and Peppadews, then heat for another minute. Season with black pepper.

Arrange a quarter of the romaine down the center of each tortilla, then top with a quarter of the shrimp and Peppadew mixture. Top each serving with a quarter of the cheese and avocado slices. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories; 190 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 195 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 31 g protein; 750 mg sodium.

J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at www.twitter.com/JM_Hirsch. Email him at jhirsch@ap.org.

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • angelMay 28, 2014 - 6:29 am

    It's only 6:30 Am and you made me hungry!!!!! The Peppadew peppers are they hot, hot??? I have new heard of them. I love shrimp taco but I have always used my favorite stand by.... lemon-lime and cilantro!!!! I guess I know whats for dinner tonight.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jason KnowlesMay 28, 2014 - 7:25 am

    These look amazing!!!

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  • Rich GiddensMay 28, 2014 - 11:19 am

    It needs Pico d' Gallo on top with cilantro, lime juice and a dash of paprika. Goat cheese? OK but I believe the other Mexican cheeses like asiago would be more pleasing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Jason KnowlesMay 28, 2014 - 12:38 pm

    Rich, i think you mean cotija cheese. Asiago is Italian and made from cow's milk. You're right about the pico,though!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMay 28, 2014 - 3:06 pm

    I stand corrected Jason----cotija is indeed the one I used last time when I prepared this dish for my family. I love cooking around the world but sometimes it's frustrating to come up with new menus to please different appetites. I've seen people get physically ill when they tasted feta cheese for the first time. My wife was fascinated by that bizzare strange foods show on TV with Andrew Zimmern. Thanks but I will pass on the insects and other appetizers Andrew!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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