The idea for this dinner sort of evolved in my head over time… it started when I was trying to do some menu planning for the week, and wanted to work with what I already had on hand. I had a bag of frozen shrimp left over from New Year’s Eve, so I started considering what I could do with those… and then I remembered that I had a package of flour tortillas in the fridge, so I started thinking about fun ways to do shrimp tacos. After hashing out a few ideas with my girl Nic, I decided to go the sweet/spicy route… and suddenly, the idea for spicy shrimp tacos with pineapple salsa was born.
The entire meal took about 20 minutes, start to finish, and it was DELICIOUS. Additionally, it’s pretty darn healthy! And considering I consumed about a dozen and a half Brown Sugar Oatmeal Coconut Chewies this past weekend, I was in need of a slightly lighter meal.
I know that it seems like a lot of ingredients and a lot of steps, but I promise it all comes together quickly and easily! (Also, this recipe is kind of long… but I promise if you stick with it, you’ll LOVE these tacos!)
Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
For the salsa:
Half a pineapple, diced into 1/2″ chunks (or a bit smaller)
1 fresh jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed, cut into a very small dice
1/4 red bell pepper, seeds and ribs removed, cut into a 1/4″ dice
1/2 a shallot, finely diced*
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
handful of cilantro, minced
*small sidenote: The store I went to did not have a shallot, and I wasn’t about to drive to a second store just for that… so I used a small amount of sweet yellow onion, really finely minced. It worked just fine, but I think the milder, slightly sweeter flavor of the shallot would have been even better!
1.) Start by chopping all your ingredients. Don’t stress too much about making everything the exact right size – just keep in mind that you want everything to be pretty small, and fairly even in size.
2.) Mix all the ingredients together, and set aside! This salsa can be made a day ahead of time, if you’d like – just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.
For the shrimp:
3/4 pound extra large shrimp (the 26-30/lb size)*
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
large pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
*I like to keep frozen shrimp on hand for quick and easy meals. I buy the raw, de-veined, shell-on variety – they thaw in about 15 minutes in a bowl of cold water, they’re super easy to peel, and you don’t have to deal with the mess of de-veining them. If I happen to be at the grocery store the same day I intend to cook shrimp, I will buy them fresh, but I still prefer to purchase them de-veined.
1.) Start by thawing your shrimp, if necessary. While the shrimp thaw, mix up your spice mixture (all the ingredients from the smoked paprika to the brown sugar).
2.) Once your shrimp are thawed, remove the shells, and lay them out on paper towels to let them drain a bit. Once they’re all laid out, pat them dry with more paper towels (you want them to be good and dry).
3.) Place the shrimp into a mixing bowl, and drizzle them with about 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil. Sprinkle about half the spice mixture over the shrimp, and toss everything together with tongs until the shrimp are evenly coated. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the shrimp, and toss again to coat evenly.
4.) Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add your shrimp (if you need to, cook them in two separate batches to avoid overcrowding the pan). Cook for about 1-2 minutes on the first side, then flip the shrimp. Cook for another minute or so on the second side, until the shrimp have turned opaque and curled up. Remove the shrimp to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
For the tacos:
6 small flour tortillas (about 6″ in diameter)
romaine lettuce, sliced into thin shreds
one avocado, cut into thin slices and sprinkled with kosher salt
sour cream (I mixed some of the sauce from a can of chipotles in adobo into mine – totally optional)
1.) Make sure you toast/warm your tortillas! There’s nothing worse than a doughy, cold, tough tortilla. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and place a tortilla in the pan. Heat until it’s getting light brown spots on the bottom, and then flip it over. When it’s lightly blistered on the second side, remove it and wrap in a clean, folded dish towel to keep warm. Repeat with all tortillas.
2.) Assemble your tacos however you’d like! My personal plan of action is: spread chipotle sour cream on the tortilla, top with shredded romaine, top with a slice or two of avocado, line shrimp up down the middle of the tortilla, and spoon lots of pineapple salsa on top. Messy, but WORTH IT.
And there you have it! Light, flavorful, delicious shrimp tacos – perfect for a quick weeknight meal, or even for company. I have a feeling these tacos will be creeping into our regular dinner rotation, and fast!
Trust me, I’m a Mexican,