Happy Cinco de Mayo!
I am mildly obsessed with Mexican food. Ok, not mildly. Mexican food is my absolute favorite and I could die happy if the only thing I could eat for the rest of my life was chips and salsa and enchiladas.
Now that that’s out of my system, here is a somewhat Mexican recipe. Haha. I claim to be no authentic Mexican food expert, however, I tend to cook a lot of Mexican/Southwestern-inspired dishes. I like making salsas and slaws to serve atop everything (like this fish) and generally using a corn tortilla as a vehicle to eat pretty much anything (trivia time: did you know huevos rancheros is my favorite breakfast dish ever?! Ever since I tried this recipe, I’m a convert. Sorry Mr. Benedict.)
This recipe came about because I wanted to come up with a way to use some of my Persian Lime olive oil (I know, oh la la), which was a gift from my fellow-foodie aunt:
Lime olive oil is definitely not a requirement of this recipe, but you may want to up the lime juice or zest in the recipe if you are as much of a lime-lover as me. The olive oil is from D’Avolio if anyone is interested. They have all sorts of fun flavors of olive oils and vinegars (I also have the peach white balsamic vinegar and it’s awesome in salad dressings, mmm). So fun.
So basically I wanted to come up with a use for my olive oil and I was in the mood for something summery and refreshing and well, Mexican. Shrimp was a logical choice, and just to up the ante, I beer-battered them. And shallow fried them. In lime olive oil. Ahhhh it was so delicious!! And so surprisingly easy. Did you know you can make a beer batter with just equal parts beer and flour?! Who knew. Well, I figured it out. And now I’m all excited to try different beer varieties and beer batter everything in sight (think about it – something like an IPA or a more fruity beer like Blue Moon would probably be awesome). The batter will be really thick, but that means it will make a great coating. I highly recommend trying this, because it’s awesome. And super low-calorie. Just kidding :-D
When I eat something a little more gluttonous, I somehow justify it to myself by topping it with vegetables. Specifically, broccoli slaw.
In general, I much prefer topping tacos with slaw rather than boring old lettuce or salsa. I think I first got this idea from Bobby Flay – long, long ago I remember making some taco recipe of his and he used cabbage slaw (or something) instead of lettuce, and it was great. Cabbage/slaw gives a great crunch, and you can marinade it to make it really, really flavorful, almost like a salsa itself. In this recipe I went overboard with lime juice and acid and salt and it was wonderful. But use this recipe as an inspiration – and know that you can use any type of cabbage or slaw mix and any other type of seasonings (just always make sure to use some sort of acid and some salt to help wilt the slaw a little bit).
Beer Battered Lime Shrimp Tacos with Slaw
Time: 20 min. active and 30 min. inactive; Yield: 2 very large portions or 3 normal-person portions
- Juice of 1 lime (~2 tablespoons)
- Zest of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons lime olive oil (or regular oil if you do not have lime)
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (taste a small piece to see how spicy it is – if very spicy, only use half)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 of a red onion, diced
- 6 ounces broccoli slaw mix (or any other cabbage mix you can find)
- 6 radishes, very thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup beer
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning (optional)
- Lime olive oil (or regular oil) – enough to generously coat a fry pan, about 1/3 cup
- 1/2 pound of raw shrimp (~4-6 large shrimp per person), peeled, deveind and tails removed
+ Corn tortillas for serving (6)
+ Queso Fresco or Feta cheese for serving, optional
Combine all slaw ingredients and toss to coat slaw well. Allow to sit for 30-40 minutes for flavors to develop and for salt and acids to draw some moisture out of the slaw. This will help is soften slightly.
For the shrimp, stir together beer, flour and Old Bay. The mixture will be very thick and pasty. If too thick, add slightly more beer; if too thin, add more flour. The mixture should easily coat and stay on the shrimp. Meanwhile, heat a saute pan on the stove over medium/medium-high heat with enough oil to generously coat the bottom (the goal is to shallow-fry the shrimp). Season shrimp with salt and pepper and coat in batter. Once oil is hot (you can tell because it should start rippling slightly), place shrimp in oil. Cook until coating has turned golden brown on the first side and shrimp is mostly cooked through (~2-3 minutes depending on size of shrimp); flip, and cook remaining side for another 30 seconds or until golden brown. Shrimp cook very quickly, so take care not to overcook them. When they are pink and firm they are done – so don’t keep cooking them! Remove and place on a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess oil.
To serve, heat up corn tortillas (in the microwave with a damp paper towel – so they get moist and flexible and don’t tear). Serve each with plenty of shrimp, slaw and queso fresco.