Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa
These tacos are perfect for a party. You can prepare the avocado salsa ahead of time, so all that’s left to do when your guests arrive is grill the shrimp and warm the tortillas. It’s one of those recipes with a long list of ingredients but please don’t let that discourage you — it’s very quick and easy to make.
As with all of my shrimp recipes, I recommend buying frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Most shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so the “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket is typically thawed frozen shrimp. Who knows how long it’s been sitting there, so you’re better off buying frozen and defrosting it yourself. Come dinnertime, all you have to do is run it under warm water to defrost, then peel.
Begin by making the avocado salsa. Combine the garlic, shallot and jalapeño pepper in a food processor and process until finely minced. For the jalapeño pepper, I like to cut the flesh off the seeds and stem, leaving the spiciest part of the pepper behind. Of course, if you like more heat, throw in some of the seeds. (If you touch the seeds, just be sure to wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.)
Next, seed and chop the tomato and add it to the jalapeño mixture.
Cut a grid into the avocado, then use a soup spoon to scoop out the chunks.
Add the avocado to the jalapeño mixture, along with the salt, fresh lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir to combine. When you taste it, you might worry it’s too spicy but, rest assured, it’ll be perfect combined with the shrimp and fixins in the tortilla. It’s not intended to be eaten on its own like guacamole.
Next, toss the shrimp with olive oil, chili powder, salt and a hint of cayenne pepper.
Grill the shrimp over medium heat. The reason I use large shrimp for this recipe is so that they don’t fall through the grates. If you’re worried your shrimp will slip through, you can always thread them on skewers or just cook them indoors in a saute pan. Either way, be careful not to overcook them — they only need a minute or two per side.
Finally, heat the tortillas on the grill or in the microwave, and assemble the tacos with all the fixins. Serve with Margaritas and enjoy!
Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado Salsa
For the Salsa
- 1 small shallot
- 1 jalapeno pepper, quartered and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, from half a lime
- 1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
For the Shrimp
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Scant 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1-1/2 pounds large or extra large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
- 8 - 10 six-inch corn or flour tortillas
- Approximately 2 cups chopped red cabbage, for garnish (I buy it pre-chopped in a bag)
- 2 limes, cut into wedges, for garnish
- Approximately 1 cup sour cream, for garnish
- Make the Salsa: Put the shallot, jalapeno and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped (a mini food processor is best, but large will work too). Transfer mixture to medium bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, avocado, salt, lime juice and cilantro and stir to combine. Set aside. (If not using right away, place a piece of saran wrap inside the bowl and directly over salsa to prevent discoloration and refrigerate.)
- Make the Shrimp: Heat grill to medium. Meanwhile, mix the olive oil, chili powder, salt, cayenne pepper and shrimp in a large bowl. Stir until shrimp are evenly coated with seasoning. Grease grill with a wad of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil or non-flammable cooking spray. Place shrimp on grill and cook until just opaque, about 1-1/2 - 2 minutes per side. Cover to keep shrimp warm.
- Grill the tortillas until warm and slightly charred, about 20 seconds per side. (Alternatively, heat tortillas in microwave according to package instructions.)
- Spoon avocado salsa generously over warm tortillas, then top with 3 shrimp, red cabbage and dollops of sour cream. Serve tacos with lime wedges on the side.