Smokin’ hot shrimp tacos for summer

What do you call the food version of an earworm? I’m talking beyond craving. This is a pesky nagging feeling that tickles my tongue and bops around in my mind refusing to be silenced. I get these all the time and they heavily influence my cooking. But what do I call these super cravings? Leave a comment please! I want to know what you call this gastro-earworm.

I made these tacos in the hopes of silencing a recent infestation of said nagging sensations. In the moment I was able to restrain myself from chowing down on all of Margee’s leftover shrimp, but as the week progressed I kept thinking about those tender bites with their smoky perfume and lip tickling spices. By Saturday I was itching for a fix and it seemed like the best way to squelch the feeling was to throw restraint to the wind and grill up some shrimp tacos!

It turns out they were simple to make. There are several steps but with a little organization none of them were very complicated. We had many of the ingredients on hand and I sent Mr. out to pick up the remaining items. He did a great job if you exclude the part where he didn’t turn over the list, that he wrote, and forgot to grab corn. It was a sad moment but we forged ahead and were very happy we did.

The only problem with these tacos is how much I enjoyed them. Here I am another week later harkening back and salivating like Pavlov’s Dog when the bell rings. Looks like we may need to add several more taco nights to our summer menu. Try these at your own risk!

PS: I actually do have a good amount of self control. Grilled shrimp tacos are a safe splurge that fit nicely into our family’s normal diet. My flamboyance is more of a literary device.

PPS: Not that the story isn’t true. I absolutely found myself moist at the corners of my mouth several times during the week after trying the shrimp.

PPPS: Please read the entire recipe before beginning to cook. Here are a few additional notes to help you achieve total taco success:

  • These tacos are best suited to the bright flavor of corn tortillas but can be served on your favorite small tortillas (like the whole wheat tortillas we used), avoid anything larger than 8 inches across.
  • The marinated shrimp can be cooked on skewers to make them easier to handle. I prefer a grill pan, the kind that can placed right over your grill rack with lots of holes to let the heat and smoke through but prevent smaller foods from falling into the fire.
  • The original recipe calls for grilling the shrimp on a cedar plank that has been soaked for 30 minutes. This method adds a sweet smokiness. Cedar and other wood planks for cooking and grilling are sold by grocery, gourmet food, or on-line retailers use ‘em if you’ve got ‘em!

Finally: Calculating the nutrition per serving on this recipe it is not particularly straight forward. I’ll break down my approach to “counting” these tacos following the recipe for those who are interested.

Smokin’ Hot Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Fresh summery grilled tacos filled with spicy grilled shrimp, grilled slaw, and a grilled avocado guacamole. Enough heat to tickle your lips with out singeing your tongue. Adapted from “Smokin’ Hot Summer Wood Planked Shrimp Tacos with Seared Slaw” by Margee Berry.

Total time to prepare and cook: approximately 1 hour

Yields 10 tacos

Ingredients

small tortillas – see note

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approximately 1 medium lime)

2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce (or sauce from canned chipotle chilies in adobo)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon all spice

1 pound medium raw shrimp – peeled &deveined

Grilled guacamole:

1 medium avocado, ripe but firm

2-3 medium tomatillos, papery leaves removed

2-4 large green onions, root end and thinest top leaves trimmed

1 medium jalapeno, halved and seeded

1 medium lime, quartered

1/3 cup chopped cilantro (or 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden cilantro)

sprinkle of sea salt

Slaw:

1/2 head of cabbage, cut into 2-3 large wedges

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

sprinkle of sea salt

Method

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

1. Marinade:

Place the shrimp in a medium bowl. In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and pour it over the shrimp, stir to coat then set aside.

2. Grilling the veggies:

Place the prepared vegetables and lime wedges onto a baking sheet, brush or spritz each side with a thin layer of olive oil (hello Misto!). Grill the vegetables and lime until lightly charred on all sides. Place the veggies back on the baking sheet as they finish, allow the longest time for the cabbage.

3. Prepare the guacamole:

Once the vegetables are cool to the touch, scoop the avocado flesh from the skin and roughly dice it into 1/2 half inch cubes. Place the avocado into a medium bowl. Dice the tomatillo and green onion and add them to the avocado. Mince the jalapeno and add it to the bowl along with the cilantro and a few pinches of salt. Stir to combine but avoid mashing the guacamole.

4. Prepare the slaw:

Remove the core from the cabbage wedges and slice them into thin strips. Place the strips into a large bowl and toss with the vinegar and a few pinches of salt.

5. Grill the shrimp:

Preset your grill pan so it gets up to the temperature of the grill, once the pan is hot place the shrimp in the pan and discard the marinade. Grill the shrimp over medium high heat until it pinks up and the flesh changes from translucent to white. The exact time will depend on their size but should only take about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the heat immediately so it stays tender.

6. Grill the tortillas:

While the shrimp is on the grill, lightly grill each tortilla for a minute or so on each side. Flip as soon as they are kissed by golden grill marks. Keep the pile of tortillas wrapped in foil until ready to serve.

7. To Serve:

Lay a bit of slaw on a tortilla then plop on some shrimp and add about a tablespoon and a half of guacamole. Serve two tacos per plate with a wedge of grilled lime on the side.

Regarding the Nutrition: This is one of those recipes that used to get me pretty rattled when it came to entering the calories, fat, carbs, etc. into my daily log. For one thing each component makes a different amount of servings – sorry. Rather than shying away from a perfectly delicious and fairly balanced meal I have learned to eat mindfully rather than sweating the details.

Now, let’s break this puppy down.

  • First off the shrimp. The majority of the marinade will be discarded, therefore I don’t “count it.” For this recipe each serving is 2 tacos and the recipe makes enough for 5 servings. That is 3 ounces of shrimp (with a bit of change) per serving. So we’re at approximately: 90 calories, 1.5 g fat, .8 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 17 g protein.
  • The slaw is nice and fluffy so you will have more than enough for four or five people. Since it is simply cabbage, vinegar, and a few pinches of salt I count it as “0.”
  • As with the slaw I do not count the vegetables in the guacamole, just the avocado. If we assume a generous 2 ounces of avocado per serving it adds approximately: 100 calories, 9 g fat, 6 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 2 g protein.
  • I do assume about 1/4 teaspoon of olive oil per taco. For an additional 10 calories and 1 g fat.

If you have been tracking along with me that brings us to approximately 200 calories, 11.5 g fat, 7 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 19 g protein and a PP value of 5 for the filling in two vibrant, smoky, spicy, indulgent, summery delicious tacos. Bear in mind, we left out a number of fiber rich ingredients and the final nutritional content will depend on your choice of tortilla. But I hope you can see how I worked this all out. Now, go ahead, take a deep breath and fire up that grill!

If you do your own number crunching please let me know how you calculated this dish. I’d love to hear how you approach a recipe like this.

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