Thursday, March 31, 2016

Crispy Shrimp Tacos (Encamaronadas)

Melted cheese, chopped shrimp, and salsa are folded into a corn tortilla and fried until crispy. These tacos are quick to make (just 15 minutes!), done in just 1 pan, and will disappear before you know it!

Tacos are sorta a big deal in Texas. You can buy them just about anywhere - though the best are usually found at a taco stands set up in parking lots. Don't worry - it's not as shady as it sounds. And while I've found a few solid taco options, I do miss some of the variety found in Texas.

Thankfully, I found a great recipe to make at home! These tacos are heads above most of the restaurant tacos I've ordered. The crispy shell you achieve through frying automatically makes them fantastic but the stuffing is also amazing! I took a Rick Bayless recipe (he's the best!) and streamlined it a bit to make it more weeknight friendly. Honestly, these don't even need to be for dinner - they would be amazing at a Super Bowl party or the like. I refuse to admit how many we plowed through the night I made them. They are addictive!

Don't be discouraged if you don't master the taco flip the first time. I tore my first tortilla and lost my stuffing but thanks to the cheese holding it all together, it still fried up okay and tasted great - it just wasn't pretty. The key is to not over-stuff them or you'll lose half the shrimp in your pan.

Shrimp cooks up super fast so have everything ready to go - you should be able to make this in 15 minutes, start to finish. You could dunk them in sour cream or guacamole if you feel so inclined but they certainly don't need it!

Crispy Shrimp Tacos
8-10 corn tortillas
3/4 cup store-bought refrigerated salsa
1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
vegetable oil, for frying

In a deep skillet over medium heat, add a swirl of oil. Once hot, add the salsa. Cook for 2 minutes and then add the diced shrimp. Cook until the shrimp are just about cooked through (they will finish cooking in the taco). Transfer the shrimp/salsa mixture to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

Add a heavy film of oil to the skillet and heat to medium-high. Once hot, place a tortilla in the oil and cook a few seconds. Using tongs, gently flip and then add a couple tablespoons cheese and, using a slotted spoon, about 1 tablespoon shrimp/salsa filling. Using tongs, carefully fold half the tortilla over to make a taco. Gently press flat. Cook until both sides are crispy, about 2-3 minutes a side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

Source: adapted from Rick Bayless

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