Saturday, February 02, 2008

Shrimp Tacos

If I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life, it would be fish or Shrimp tacos, along with sushi, Indian food, and chocolate. okay so that scenario wouldn’t ever work for me….. but you get the point, Shrimp tacos rate very high in my book.

It’s the combination of chili powder, ground coriander, lime juice, delicious juicy Shrimp, and lots and lots of cumin that come together on a homemade taco topped with sliced onions, cabbage and sour cream that make me happy happy. I love these little things. If I didn’t have to watch the numbers, I’d eat 8 in one seating, at least. When we went to California, fish tacos were on the top of the list because of the freshness of the seafood and the authenticity of the meal. We stopped at a small Mexican joint around Del Rey, that served the best fish & Shrimp Tacos. I wish I had pictures to share…. we’ll have to go back…

For the best Shrimp Tacos, I highly recommend buying fresh wild caught Shrimp. If you’re on the coast, that’s not such a problem. However for us Midwesterners, ocean is a 5 letter word. I cheated, as I always do. When we visit my parents in New Jersey, I make it a point to stop at their local seafood market and load up on shrimp and various types of fish. As soon as I come back from the market, I freeze everything for lasting flavor and freshness. I suggest buying shrimp that are still in their shells. Yes, it’s a giant pain in the ass to peel and devein them, but if you want authentic shrimp tacos, this is the best method. Lynne Rossetto Kasper explains the buying, peeling and deveining process here. And provides a step by step guide.

Tacos de Camarones- Shrimp Tacos
(The spices are added approximately, as in all my recipes. Are you surprised? Cumin and Coriander are not hot spices, they add a lot of flavor so don't skimp on those. However chili powder is hot therefore add according to taste.)

2 cups of masa flour- It’s corn flour made from field corn. I use the Maseca brand.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of water, more or less

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and water together until you get a smooth doughy texture. Knead the dough and if it is dry and crumbly, add water and on the contrary if it’s too watery, add flour. If you have to add water or flour, start small. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes.

25-30 count medium shrimp
2 tablespoon Vegetable oil, divided
1 tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 tablespoon Ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder, we like it hot
Salt to taste
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Fresh Lime juice
Chopped Cilantro for garnish

1/4 of Cabbage, shredded
1/2 of Red onion, sliced
Sour cream

While the dough is resting, mix shrimp with oil, ground cumin, coriander, chili powder and salt. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile shred cabbage and red onion into thin slices for toppings, and finely chop cilantro.

After the dough has rested, roll into 12 golf size balls. Using a tortilla press, make medium tortillas. I believe this is the best way to make tortillas. I’ve read recipes on rolling out the dough between pieces of plastic, though that may work, I prefer to use my press. It’s a sturdy cast iron press and cost me about $20 on Ebay. The local Mexican grocers carry it as well.

Before starting, make sure to line the top and bottom of the press with plastic, sandwich, bags to keep the dough from sticking. Two tricks: press the dough slightly in hands before pressing and press it twice in the tortilla maker.
1. Press the golf side dough ball between hands. Lay it between the two pieces of plastic in the tortilla maker, off center, and press.
2. Then, open the top, reposition the flattened dough and repress for a thinner tortilla.

Repeat the process for all tortillas.

Heat a nonstick pan, cast iron skillet or the traditional comal on high heat and cook tortillas for 30 -60 seconds on each side and remove from heat. Do not add any type of grease to the pan.

Heat a non stick pan on medium high heat, add vegetable oil. When the oil is ready, add garlic and cook for 15-20 seconds, then add marinated shrimp to the pan, spices and all. Turn down heat to medium and cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes on first side and 1-2 minutes on the other side or until opaque in the center. These cook really fast so don’t leave the room to make a margarita. As tempting as that is....

Serve warm. Top a cooked tortilla with shrimp, cabbage, red onion, and sour cream.

(I took the pictures before adding sour cream)

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