Summer is winding down and the back to school frenzy is gearing up. With one week left before I’ll have an official kindergartener in the house my mind has been pre-occupied with a to-do list longer than my arm. When we finished the official registration last week they handed me a calendar with little stickers on each day of the school year that had something special going on. When I got home I flipped through it, and nearly hyperventilated. How in the world am I going to pull this school year off? The only thing keeping my sanity in tact is my obsessively compulsive list making. I’ve been a list maker my entire life. I don’t know if it’s really a way to help me remember things, or if it’s just the therapeutic act of getting my thoughts out on paper that helps me relax. I write lists so often that a while back I bought a big, thick notebook to contain them because those little pieces of paper were taking over my life. They were stuffed in my bag, in my car, my desk, next to the bed… I’ve even caught myself making lists about the lists I needed to make. Seriously, do I really need to do that? Maybe that’s a sign that I need help. But in my head I find it hilarious that I make lists about making lists, and the little laugh it gives me is sometimes just what I need to get me over that particular hump. And I choose to believe that the laugh I give myself isn’t a warning sign of mental illness in itself.
I go back and read my old lists, and sometimes laugh, but sometimes I strike gold in discovering that I had a great idea that never came to be. This recipe is one of those little golden nuggets. At the beginning of the summer I was thinking about how often we eat shrimp during the hot months. I made a list of all the shrimp dishes I’d fallen in love with over the last few years – Shrimp Fra Diavolo, Shrimp Pad Thai, and Garlic & Lemon Shrimp to name a few. At the bottom of the list I wrote “Shrimp Tacos”. I’ve never had shrimp tacos, so I have no idea why I wrote that. But once I saw those words I was laser focused on getting some on my plate fast.
This was one of my favorite dinners of the entire summer. The spices and crisp lime flavor are the perfect match for the shrimp. And the crema strikes just the right balance of cool creaminess. The recipe is so simple, and it goes from fridge to stove to plate in no time. First I made the Green Onion and Cilantro Crema – not a true Mexican crema, but a close cousin. You want to make this at least 30 minutes before you plan to eat dinner so the flavors can intermingle. The shrimp take no time to prep for the pan and cook even faster, so make sure everything else is ready before you drop them in the pan. If you’re a fan of fish tacos, you may just have a new favorite meal after eating this one too.
Shrimp Tacos with Green Onion and Cilantro Crema
serves 4, two tacos each
For the crema:
6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
2 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 small green onions, sliced thin, green tops only
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
For the Shrimp:
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup lime juice plus 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
tortillas, either corn or flour
pico de gallo
To make the crema:
Place all ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. Stir well to combine.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
To make the shrimp:
Place cleaned shrimp in a large mixing bowl. Add cumin, chile powder, garlic, sea salt, and lime juice. Stir to coat well.
Heat olive oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn over and continue cooking 1-2 minutes, until they just become opaque. Remove from heat.
Serve shrimp tucked inside warmed tortillas. Spoon crema over top. Serve with pico de gallo, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro as desired.
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