Since the time when these tacos were created (that took place in a restaurant in Mexico’s northwest state of Sinaloa in the ‘80s to honor the visit of the state’s governor), their popularity has exploded. They’re a takeoff on the region’s machaca de camarón, a lavish-sounding taco filling of chopped shrimp cooked with what is essentially a cooked pico de gallo. Fresh shrimp is so abundant and cheap in the area that making it into a filling for tacos seems logical. That preparation is folded into tortillas with cheese, then crisped on a griddle, giving you something that’s a cross between a taco and a quesadilla.
The original taco gobernador was made with corn tortillas, but today lots of people make it with flour. It’s customary to use poblano chile here—sauteed rather than roasted and peeled—but you may want to use serrano or jalapeño for more heat. I like to boost the savoriness by stirring in a little tomato paste and Worcestershire.
2tbspvegetable oil (to brush or spray on corn tortillas only)
Make the flavoring base. In a large (10-inch) skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the sliced poblano and chopped onion and cook, stirring regularly, until softened and lightly browned, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cook for 1 minutes, then add the tomato and optional serrano or jalapeño and cook until the tomatoes are completely soft, about 2-3 minutes more.
Cook the shrimp. With the skillet still over medium heat, stir in the shrimp. Cook, stirring frequently, just until the shrimp turn from translucent to milky white, 2-3 minutes. Add the Worcetershire and stir until evaporated. Remove from the heat and stir in the tomato paste and cilantro, then taste and season with salt, usually about 1 ½ teaspoons.
Make the tacos. Heat a large griddle or very large (12-inch) heavy skillet over medium-high. Working in batches, brush or spray one side of a corn tortilla with oil, lay it oiled-side down on the hot surface, sprinkle with a portion of cheese, top with a portion of the shrimp, fold over and bake, flipping regularly, until the cheese has melted and the tortilla is mostly crisp, about 2-3 minutes. (If using flour tortillas, there is no need to oil them.) As the tacos are finished, you can hold them on a baking sheet in a low oven for a few minutes, but they are at their peak when they come right off the griddle. I think these tacos are complete as is, but some may want to sprinkle on Mexican hot sauce.