Monday, November 23, 2015

28. Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper, and Red Cabbage-Apple Slaw


It seems like forever since I've posted a taco recipe!  Well, it's only been about a week and a half, but that means I'm a bit behind!  What can I say?

If I'm actually going to reach my goal of 100 recipes in a year, I have to average about two per week.  I've done quite well so far, if I do say so myself.  One musical direction down.  One semester almost down.  One marathon training experience in progress . . . well, I'm a little behind on that one, too.  It's all good, though.  It's going to happen.  A couple of weeks with three recipes each and I'll be (roughly) back on track.

At first, I really had no idea what to do for this one.  It was Friday.  I was tired.  I wasn't really in the mood.  Steve suggested shrimp.  Hmm . . . OK.  I went to the store and started throwing things in the basket.  I used the same wild-caught, peeled, deveined shrimp that I used in recipe eleven!  They worked quite well last time - they're a perfect size for tacos.  Hey, if it's not broken . . .

Then, I happened to remember some really tasty shrimp tacos at a restaurant down in Tucson called Sir Veza's.  Ha ha.  Get it?

I've ordered some great shrimp tacos from Sir Veza's a couple of times.  As I remember, they were crispy (fried) and topped with a sweet-hot sauce that definitely contained Sriracha.  Yes.  I decided to go with that.  Isn't Sriracha super-trendy and on everything these days?  By all means, then, let's make some TACOS with it!

I started with a creamy, tangy, spicy, aioli-inspired sauce that featured the Sriracha.  I decided to create a thin beer batter for the shrimp and roll them in panko.  I also thought that a crunchy, slightly spicy-sweet slaw would be the perfect complement to the other ingredients!  In the end, they were not exactly like the tacos I ate at Sir Veza's, but they were fairly mind-blowing.  I'm not even exaggerating . . . very much!

Well, since I'm in catch-up mode, I'll stay focused.  Here's the recipe!  :)

Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Sriracha Sauce, Roasted Red Pepper, and Red Cabbage-Apple Slaw

Serves 4-6 (about 12 tacos)


For the Sriracha sauce:

3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Sriracha sauce
1 clove garlic, pressed in a garlic press
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp. honey

For the red cabbage-apple slaw:

2 cups sliced red cabbage
One green apple, peeled and grated
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 Fresno chile pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the shrimp:

1/2 cup flour
1 egg
1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 cup beer (not dark, unless that's your thing - it might work . . .)
1 tbsp. chopped fresh ginger
About 20 oz. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined (if desired) and tails removed
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Canola oil for frying

2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into strips

12 to 24 corn tortillas, depending on whether you want to double them up

Roasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Lime slices, for garnish (optional)

1.  Make the sauce:  Stir all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl until well blended.  Cover and set aside.

2.  Make the slaw:  Combine all of the slaw ingredients in a medium bowl.  Taste and adjust seasonings if desired.  Cover and set aside.

3.  Prepare the shrimp:  Combine the flour, egg, tamari, garlic powder, onion powder, beer, and ginger in a small bowl.  Blend with an immersion blender until smooth.  (Alternately, you can blend the mixture in a regular blender.)

Spread the panko out on a large plate ( a serving plate would be great).  Pat the shrimp dry.  Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

4. Fry the shrimp in batches:  Add canola oil to a large saucepan until a depth of about 2 to 3 inches is reached.  Heat the oil to about 360 to 375 degrees.  Add a medium handful of shrimp to the batter mixture.  Allow the excess to drip off.  Place on the plate and toss in panko until well coated.  Add to the hot oil and fry until the coating is light golden brown and the shrimp is just done, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.  After draining, transfer to a baking sheet lined with clean paper towels.  Repeat this process as needed.  Keep the baking sheet in the warm oven and transfer more shrimp as they are ready.  (It took about four small to medium batches to finish my shrimp.)    

5.  While the shrimp are cooking, (or after, if you don't want to multi-task,) prepare the tortillas:  Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, one by one, until browned but still soft, about 30 seconds to 1 minute on each side.  As the tortillas are done, stack them on a sheet of foil.  When they are all finished, wrap them in the foil.  Since the oven is already on anyway, throw the whole packet in there along with the shrimp!

6.  When all the components are ready, assemble the tacos:  For each taco, place a tortilla on a plate.  (If your tortillas are thin, as mine were, double them up!)  Top with a few strips of roasted red pepper.  Place three or four shrimp on top of the pepper.  Drizzle with some of the sauce.  Spoon on some of the slaw.  Top with more sauce.  Garnish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a squeeze or two of lime.  Enjoy!

I have nothing but good things to say about these tacos!  They were everything I hoped they would be.  The sauce was awesome (and simple), and the slaw had a great texture.  I have to say, I'm really starting to be a Fresno pepper fan.  I usually gravitate to jalapeƱos or serranos (or maybe Thai chiles) when I want hot peppers, but Fresnos provide a nice amount of heat and beautiful color.  If you haven't tried them, give them a shot!

Another fun thing about this recipe was that our friend and neighbor, Pam, happened to be over and she tried them as well!  During all of this taco testing, it's usually just the two of us - it was so much fun to have another person to share my recipe with and get feedback!  She gave them a thumbs-up as well!

I will definitely be making these again.  The recipe makes quite a bit.  As written, you could probably serve four hungry people or six slightly less hungry people.  We only ate two each and were more than satisfied!

Yes!  Go for it!  Make them!  :)

Feel free to comment on this recipe!  Do you think Sriracha is still a good choice to include in a recipe or is it too overdone?  Did you try the tacos?  What did you think?

Thanks for reading!

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