Back in March I was back in SoCal for a short visit. I signed up for a course in OB ultrasound for nurses. I’m sure they offer it closer than SoCal, but my brother and sister in law were living in that area and I wanted to “go home” one more time before they moved away.
I purposely flew into LAX, knowing that he wouldn’t want to pick me up. No one in their right mind goes to LAX. That’s why it’s so cheap to fly there. I rented a car and would drive myself. I’m not sure when I’ll get back to SoCal, and I had some special places I wanted to visit. Like In-n-Out burger. Now, I really love In-n-Out burger. I’m still wondering myself why I didn’t go there first. Animal double-double, side of fries. Doesn’t that look amazing??? They made the best burgers, and the best fries. Lemonade worthy of a stop on it’s own. But the minute I got off the plane, I saw signs for shrimp tacos. I have this awful pavlov’s dog thing. I’m such a sucker for billboards. So, shrimp tacos it was. And you know what? They weren’t that good. Have you ever had something, though, that was so close to being good? And you knew that, if you tweaked it a little, it could be great? That was what I had. A near-miss shrimp taco. Then I got back home, and saw a post by Ree Drummond (The Pioneer Woman) about shrimp tacos. Those tacos looked delicious. But not exactly the taco I was craving. So I looked online, and it seems like everybody is making shrimp tacos. What the heck? Are these billboards getting around? So I decided to go with a bit of what I was craving, and what I had on hand. And you know what? It was just right. It was really, really good. And as I write this, I know deep in my heart that it’s no In-n-Out burger. Sigh.
Almost In-n-Out-good Shrimp Tacos:
First, make the spicy slaw. Mix this ahead if possible. I mixed shredded red cabbage, jicama, jalapeno and cilantro together in a bowl. Use what you like and in whatever ratios you want. You might want to consider other crisp veggies: peppers, radishes, onions, whatever. Now a simple “slaw” dressing of 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 Tblsp cider vinegar, 1 Tblsp sugar, 1 Tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, pinch of cayenne and a bit of ground black pepper. Stir this together and mix with slaw. Refrigerate until needed.
Now for the shrimp. I used the medium shrimp (41-50 per pound). They don’t look as impressive as the monster prawns, but work better with the taco and have a nice flavor. Thaw and peel shrimp. Dust with seasoned flour (I seasoned it with powdered onion, garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper and paprika). Quickly fry in 1/2 inch of hot oil. They cook quickly- it took about a minute on the first side and half as long on the second. Set on a rack to drain. As much as I like crispy shrimp, I don’t want to fry the tortillas. The oil overload would be too much. Instead, take some nice corn or flour tortillas. I love homemade, but the ones from the store are fine. Heat them on a dry, hot skillet or cast iron pan until they start to get crisp spots and puff up a bit.
Put 3 or 4 shrimp in a tortilla, top with some spicy slaw, some sliced avocado and either salsa or pico de gallo.I had some pico de gallo that was leftover, so it was easy to choose. Now a big squeeze of fresh lime..and there are!