Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Encamaronadas (Cheesy Shrimp Tacos)

It's taco Tuesday at our house today and I could hardly wait to tell you about these tacos. Outside of Mexico, these are probably my favorite. The first part of the recipe calls for a fresh salsa, which essentially is a pico de gallo. Juicy tomatoes, fresh onion, garlic, chili peppers, cilantro, Mexican hot sauce and a bit of ketchup - a mixture that certainly can stand on its own. I remember the first time I made this, the aroma took me straight back to Mexico, particularly to meals we had on the beach looking out at the impossible blue of the Caribbean sea. What I wouldn't give to be in Mexico right now or on any beach in the Caribbean for that matter. The facts are: this is Minnesota, it's ten degrees, and I have no upcoming plans for a sunny getaway. But this is what I like about cooking - it brings some of my favorite places to my home kitchen. 

Encamaronadas (Cheesy Shrimp Tacos)
(Adapted from Rick Bayless)
Makes about 10 to 12 tacos 

3-4 ripe tomatoes, diced
1 small, white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 serrano chili, minced (you can use more or omit this based on your preference)
juice of 1 small lime
1 tbsp hot sauce (more or less depending on your preference)
1 tbsp ketchup
Salt (to taste)
Approx. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, chopped into small pieces
10 to 12 corn tortillas
1 cup grated cheese

1. Make the salsa by combining the tomatoes, onion, garlic, cilantro, chili, lime juice, hot sauce, ketchup and salt. Mix well.
2. Warm a large skillet over medium heat, add two tablespoons of oil, then add the salsa. Cook for about five minutes. stirring occasionally. Once most of the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables have softened, stir in the chopped shrimp. Continue cooking until the shrimp has cooked through, another two to three minutes. Remove the mixture into a bowl. Wash and dry the skillet, and return it to medium heat.
3. Cover the base of the skillet with a thin layer of oil. Place one tortilla in the base of the pan and heat for about 10 seconds. Flip and add a couple tablespoons of cheese to one side. Top the cheese with about a tablespoon of the shrimp filling. Fold the uncovered part of the tortilla over the filling to resemble a turnover. Gently press flat. Continue cooking until crisp, about two minutes per side. Continue making the encamaronadas in the same way with the remaining tortillas and filling.

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