With the right ingredients, you can’t go wrong
If happiness could be held in your hand, it would look like a taco.
More specifically, a grilled shrimp taco that transports you back to the beach, salt in your hair, sun at your back and breeze on your cheeks. Teleportation powers aside, these tacos come together quickly and easily so you can enjoy a fresh dinner on the back deck before the sun calls it a day.
With the mercury rising, now is a good time to take a quick crash course. All great shrimp tacos can be boiled down to four common denominators: the slaw is cool and crisp; the shrimp of the highest quality and cooked perfectly; the spices potent; and the sauce irresistibly creamy. This combination of texture, temperature and flavor can be bona fide magic; when one element falls short, it’s a taco tragedy.
So slip on your flip-flops and head to your favorite local fish market. Both Texas brown and white shrimp are available year-round. Whereas Texas wild caught brown shrimp are known for their fuller flavor, a clean brininess and firmer texture, the white shrimp are considered by many to be sweeter and more delicate. The good news? You can’t go wrong either way.
Grilled Shrimp Tacos
Yield: 4 tacos
2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 cups broccoli slaw, roughly chopped
1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
1 jalapeño stemmed, seeded and minced
Juice of 2 large limes
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
Avocado Cream Sauce
1 avocado, peeled and mashed
2 tablespoons finely chopped, seeded tomato
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
2 tablespoons sour cream
Juice of 1 fresh lime
1/8 teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
1½ teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons canola or
1 pound large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 corn tortillas (6-inch),
homemade or store-bought
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Wooden skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
To prepare slaw, toss all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator.
To prepare sauce, combine avocado and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Transfer to a piping bag or squeeze bottle. Store in refrigerator.
Heat an outdoor grill to high (about 450 F to 550 F). Meanwhile, prep the shrimp. Whisk together the cumin, paprika, salt, pepper and oil in a large bowl. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Skewer each shrimp through the tail and head ends and transfer to a baking sheet. Place the skewers in a single layer on the grill without touching. Close the grill and cook until grill marks appear on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip the skewers, close the grill and cook until the shrimp are just firm, about 1 minute more. Remove shrimp from the grill and discard the skewers.
To prepare the tortillas, heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place a tortilla in the pan until the surface browns in places, about 30 seconds. Flip and cook about 15 seconds more. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
To assemble tacos, squeeze a line of sauce down the middle of each tortilla, add shrimp and top with slaw. Garnish with cilantro leaves. Serve with lime wedges.