Tacos are eaten ev­ery­where

A taco is ex­actly as handy, ver­sa­tile and fill­ing as a sand­wich

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FOOD - BY SARA MOUL­TON Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cole Slaw and Chipotle Cream

From taco trucks to Mex­i­can restau­rants, tacos are just about ev­ery­where these days. And why not? A taco is ex­actly as handy, ver­sa­tile and fill­ing as a sand­wich, and crunchy to boot. Lots of folks dream of mak­ing these fried corn tor­tillas at home, but some pull up short at the prospect of hav­ing to deep-fry them. The so­lu­tion? Don’t fry them. Bak­ing will bring tacos to crispy per­fec­tion and al­low you to shape them into shells in the process.

That said, I dis­cov­ered while de­vel­op­ing this recipe for Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Cole Slaw and Chipotle Cream that not all corn tor­tillas are cre­ated equal. Some are thick-ish and some are thin-ish. Some are drier and some are moister. Given that there’s no way of pre­dict­ing these qual­i­ties in the brands you buy at the store, you just need to pay at­ten­tion to the tor­tillas as they bake and ad­just ac­cord­ingly. Some brands will re­quire more time than others to be­come crispy.

Be­fore be­ing baked, the tor­tillas need to be steamed a bit so they don’t crack when you shape them. Then you brush them very lightly on both sides with oil (or with veg­etable oil spray, if you pre­fer), drape them di­rectly over a bar of the oven rack and bake them un­til crispy. (See recipe for de­tails.)

I rec­om­mend bak­ing them in two batches of four tor­tillas each be­cause when you open the oven to shape them, the oven tem­per­a­ture drops. If you’re shap­ing all eight at once, the tem­per­a­ture will drop a lot and the tor­tillas will take for­ever to crisp.

The shells can be made ahead and parked in a bowl at room tem­per­a­ture. Then you can turn to the prepa­ra­tion of whichever fill­ings you want. (Here I pro­pose coleslaw, grilled shrimp and chipotle cream.) When the din­ner bell chimes, just set out all the fix­ings and let peo­ple dig in for them­selves. Start to fin­ish: 1 hour Servings: 4

Eight 6-inch corn tor­tillas

3 ta­ble­spoons veg­etable oil, plus ex­tra for brush­ing the tor­tillas

1/4 cup may­on­naise (low-fat if you pre­fer)

1/4 cup Greek yo­gurt or sour cream 1 tea­spoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce

1/2 tea­spoon adobo sauce from the can

1 ta­ble­spoon plus 2 1/2 tea­spoons fresh lime juice

3 cups finely shred­ded cab­bage 1 cup coarsely shred­ded car­rots

1 cup thin strips red bell pep­per (about 1-inch long)

1 pound medium shrimp (31/35), peeled and de­veined

1 firm ripe av­o­cado, cut into cubes

1/2 cup cilantro leaves Pre­heat the oven to 375 F. Wrap 4 tor­tillas in foil and heat them on the mid­dle shelf of the oven un­til they are pli­able, about 5 min­utes (or wrap them in a moist towel and mi­crowave them for 30 sec­onds). Re­move them from the foil, brush them lightly on both sides with the oil and care­fully (so as not to burn your­self) drape each tor­tilla over a metal bar on the mid­dle rack of the oven so that the sides of the tor­tillas are hang­ing down and bake them for 5 min­utes. Open the oven, and us­ing tongs, lift up the tor­tillas, spread them open a bit by pulling the two sides apart (they will still be pli­able), and bake them on the rack for an­other 3 to 5 min­utes or un­til they are crispy all over. Prep and bake the re­main­ing 4 tor­tillas fol­low­ing the same pro­ce­dure. Mean­while in a small bowl com­bine the may­on­naise, yo­gurt, chipotle, adobo sauce and 1 tea­spoon of the lime juice and stir well. Add salt to taste and about 1 ta­ble­spoon water or enough to make the sauce pourable. In a medium bowl com­bine the cab­bage, car­rots, red pep­per, re­main­ing 1 1/2 ta­ble­spoons lime juice, 1 ta­ble­spoon of the veg­etable oil and salt to taste and toss well. Pre­heat the grill to medium. In a medium bowl toss the shrimp with the re­main­ing 2 ta­ble­spoons oil and salt. Thread the shrimp onto skew­ers (prefer­ably dou­ble skew­ers) and grill them, turn­ing them once for 2 to 3 min­utes to­tal or un­til just cooked through. Trans­fer to a serv­ing bowl. To serve: Put all of the com­po­nents of the tacos - the shrimp, coleslaw, av­o­cado, chipotle cream and cilantro - onto a serv­ing plat­ter and let your guests build their own tacos. Nu­tri­tion 486 calo­ries; 249 calo­ries from fat; 28 g fat (4 g sat­u­rated; 0 g trans fats); 150 mg choles­terol; 861 mg sodium; 39 g car­bo­hy­drate; 11 g fiber; 9 g su­gar; 21 g protein.

AP PHOTO

From taco trucks to Mex­i­can restau­rants, tacos are just about ev­ery­where these days. And why not? A taco is ex­actly as handy, ver­sa­tile and fill­ing as a sand­wich, and crunchy to boot.

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