notes from the mexican kitchen
Taco Tuesday/

Make Cheesy Shrimp Tacos, Make Everyone Happy

TacoTuesdayLogo_blueIt’s a simple fact. We all need a little cheesy goodness in our lives.

Enter encamaronadas, a crispy, cheesy shrimp taco-slash-quesadilla inspired by a legendary beachside shack in Puerto Escondido.

There’s much to love here: Fresh-made salsa mexicana. Unexpected seasonings. Kid-friendliness. Rapid prep-to-table cooking time. But mostly, it’s about that cheese. On that note, encamaronadas are a perfect place to use a good melting cheese like Chihuahua or Jack.

Encamaronadas
From Season 9, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 15tacos
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Ingredients

  • 12ounces (2 medium-small round or 4 or 5 plum) ripe tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • Fresh serrano chiles to taste, (roughly 3 to 5), or even more if you like it really picante), stemmed, seeded if you wish, and finely chopped
  • 1/4cup chopped cilantro, thick bottom stems removed
  • 1large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 1small white onion, finely chopped
  • 1tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (such as Valentina or Tamazula), plus extra for serving
  • 1tablespoon ketchup
  • 2teaspoons fresh lime juice (optional, but you might like the zing it adds)
  • Salt
  • About 1/3cup vegetable oil, divided use
  • 1pound small shrimp, peeled, deveined if you wish, and chopped into pieces a little smaller than ½ inch
  • 15 corn tortillas
  • 8ounces shredded Mexican melting cheese (full-flavored Chihuahua or Jack cheese work best)

Instructions

Making the” salsa. Scoop the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, garlic and white onion into a bowl and mix well. Stir in the hot sauce, ketchup and optional lime juice. Taste and season with salt, usually about a scant teaspoon.

Making the shrimp filling. Heat a very large (12-inch), heavy skillet—nonstick works really well—over medium-high. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and when it is hot, add the “salsa” vegetables. Cook, stirring regularly, until everything softens together, about 5 minutes. Scoop in the shrimp and stir until they are barely cooked through (they can still be slightly translucent at the center)—about 3 minutes. Scoop the shrimp mixture into a bowl, wash and dry the skillet, and return it to medium heat.

Assembling the encamaronadas. Heavily film the bottom of the skillet with oil. When hot, lay in a tortilla. After a few seconds, flip it, then scatter a couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese over one side, top with a generous tablespoon of the filling. Use tongs to fold the uncovered part of the tortilla over the filling, forming a turnover. Gently press flat. Continue to make encamaronadas in the same fashion until the skillet is full, frying them until crisp—2 to 3 minutes per side. As they become crisp, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve right away with more Mexican hot sauce.

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