Shrimp Tacos with Lime Dressing and Crunchy Vegetables

Camarones a la Vinagreta
Recipe from Season 5, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 12tacos


  • Shrimp
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1/2teaspoon black peppercorns, very coarsely ground
  • 1/4teaspoon allspice berries, very coarsely ground
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 12ounces shrimp (40 to 50 count), in their shells
  • Completing the Dish
  • 1/2small red onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 medium-small tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 5 radishes, finely diced
  • 1 1/2tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 5tablespoons vegetable oil, preferably half olive oil and half vegetable oil
  • 1teaspoon Salt
  • 2 to 3 leaves romaine lettuce, for garnish
  • sprigs of cilantro, for garnish
  • 12 warm corn tortillas, for serving


Squeeze the two lime halves into a medium saucepan, then add the two squeezed rinds, the black pepper, allspice, bay leaves and 1 quart water. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to high, add the shrimp, re-cover and let the liquid return just barely to a simmer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, hold the lid slightly askew and strain off all the liquid. Re-cover tightly, set aside for 5 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through, then rinse the shrimp under cold water to stop the cooking.

Peel the shrimp, then devein them (if you want) by running a knife down the back to expose the dark intestinal track and scraping it out. If the shrimp are medium or larger, cut them into 1/2 -inch bits; place in a bowl.

Add the red onion, tomato, radish and cilantro to the shrimp. In a small bowl or jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the lime juice, oil and salt.

Shortly before serving, mix the dressing ingredients thoroughly, then pour over the shrimp mixture. Toss to coat everything well, cover and refrigerate or set aside at room temperature.

Line a shallow bowl with the lettuce leaves. Taste the shrimp mixture for salt, scoop it into the prepared bowl and serve, garnished with sprigs of cilantro.


  1. People! This is quintessential Rick; the simple flavors coming together to create a lovely surprise– something intellectually dense in the reading, but clear as day alive on the tongue. Right down to cutting the olive oil with “vegetable oil” ( I used grapeseed.) Do not skip the poaching liquor simmer– you will miss those sweet notes later– they are there, like stars in the night, and important. I’d serve this pristine Bayless monument to anyone, once I figure out how to explain why we skip that tortilla and just use the romaine as wrap and require you stand with me at my kitchen sink and dribble between our sloppy murmurs of awe and appreciation. Mezcal there, at your left, if you are so inclined. Perfect. Again. Thank you, Rick.

    1. We get a lot of comments here at RickBayless.com, but this one just might be the best ever. Thanks for reading and for cooking!

    2. what an awesome review… i was thinking that i would just use the romaine leaves.

      “you will miss those sweet notes later”
      “stand with me at my kitchen sink and dribble between our sloppy murmurs of awe and appreciation. ”

      yeah, that’s the ticket

  2. This is exactly why I love Rick. He is ALL ABOUT THE FOOD. There’s no ego here. Great.Simple.Food. Rick, please let us mere mortals come along on a trip to your beloved Mexico.

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