Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shrimp Tacos with (Peach Tomato) Pico and Guacamole

Last time I was home visiting my parents, they took me to a little Mexican restaurant. I ordered the shrimp tacos, and they came--three of them--simply wrapped in tinfoil and served with fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. They were delicious, and I'm not sure why I was so surprised by that. After all, I love fish tacos. But the combination of chewy, doughy tortillas with sweet, succulent shrimp, all slathered in cool, creamy guacamole and fresh, piquant tomatoes and cilantro? Texture and flavor intersected, and mmmm! I enjoyed a few unexpected bites of heaven.

Ever since, I've been wondering if it would be possible to recreate those shrimp tacos at home, and the other night, the opportunity hit me over the head. At Sunday's farmers' market, I picked up some peach tomatoes (cool, right?) and I had been keeping them waiting for inspiration to strike. Meanwhile, half a package of corn tortillas, a bunch of scallions, and a ripe avocado were languishing in my kitchen, begging to be used. So I went to the store, picked up the shrimp, a lime, and a bunch of cilantro, and got to work.

Pico de Gallo

6 small (4 medium) tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 small scallions, white and light green parts
1/4 c cilantro leaves
juice of 1 small (or 1/2 medium) lime
Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
  1. Slice tomatoes in half, remove the core, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon (you don't need to be too careful; it's OK to have a few seeds!). Dice them into small pieces and put them in a medium bowl.
  2. Press the garlic through a garlic press onto the tomatoes.
  3. Thinly slice scallions.
  4. Roughly chop cilantro (just run your knife through a few times; a few big pieces are OK).
  5. Add the cilantro, scallions, and lime juice to the bowl.
  6. Add a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss together.

Greener Guacamole

Why "greener"? I usually use red onion in my guac, but tonight I used scallions because that's what I had on hand. Scallions are also milder in flavor than red onion, so even if you're not an onion fan, I dare you to give this a try!

medium ripe avocado
juice of 1 small (or 1/2 medium) lime
1 clove garlic
1 small scallion, white and light green parts
2 T cilantro leaves
1/4 t cumin
dash cayenne
pinch Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
  1. Scoop the avocado into a medium bowl. Add the lime juice and mash (a wire whisk works really well for this).
  2. Press garlic through a garlic press into the bowl with the avocado and lime.
  3. Thinly slice scallion.
  4. Roughly chop cilantro.
  5. Add scallion, cilantro, spices, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine.

Shrimp Tacos

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
Old Bay seasoning
Kosher salt and fresh pepper
6-8 corn tortillas
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan. Press garlic through a garlic press into the oil.
  2. Season the shrimp with Old Bay, salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Add shrimp to pan and cook, in batches, until done (about 2-3 minutes per side).
  4. Serve on warm tortillas topped with guacamole and pico de gallo. Garnish with more cilantro if desired (I did; I love it!).
My tacos turned out pretty well! My shrimp ended up a little overcooked, which threw the texture off a little. My tortillas fell apart, too! Hmm...I wonder what I could've done to help them hold together better? Warm them in a pan in a little bit of oil? Drain the juice off of my pico? Or maybe just use good old flour tortillas! Any ideas?

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