My senior year of college, my mom and I went out to Denver to visit my sister in culinary school. It was on that trip that I discovered the importance of hydration at higher altitudes, the importance of having a destination in mind when setting out for dinner, and the true wonder that are fish tacos.
Much like many college students, my sister was familiar with a handful of local restaurants, and claimed that this place Rubio's had THE BEST tacos and burritos. She hadn't steered us wrong in any of the other places we'd tried on this random trip west, so we trusted her and went. I played it safe and ordered chicken tacos (or a chicken burrito, I don't really remember!), but both my mom and sister got fish tacos. My mom got grilled fish, and my sister got crispy... so I demanded a bite.
Tortilla, crispy fish, salsa, avocado, spice... it was a perfect combo, and I was promptly annoyed that I'd never had it before! Since that trip, I've had my fair share of fish tacos, as well as many other seafood/Mexican food combos. Another favorite? Crispy shrimp tacos, eaten only once at a small Chicago Mexican restaurant once frequented by Lizz and me. My mission? Crispy shrimp tacos. The challenge? What do I top them with?
Mission accomplished! Healthy, lightly spicy crispy shrimp!
The how to, after preheating the oven to 375*
Step 1: remove the shell, tail, and vein from your shrimp (or cheat like me and buy them frozen!)
Step 2: Lightly coat the shrimp in flour. A large ziplock bag comes in handy here.
Step 3: Dip the floured shrimp into a mixture of 2 beaten eggs and 1/4 c. water.
Step 4: Coat the shrimp in panko bread crumbs and place (this is the important part) on a rack atop a baking sheet. This allows for air to circulate around all sides of the shrimp to make all-around crunch.
Step 5: Sprinkle the shrimp with cayenne pepper and either smoked paprika or Bacon Salt.
Step 6: Bake until crispy and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Broil a few minutes to brown them.
Step 7: DEVOUR!
How did I answer my challenge? Since I didn't exactly have salsa (or the makings for salsa), I had to improvise. The lovely people at Alouette recently sent me coupons to try their new extra creamy brie, and since it's not at stores by me yet, I picked up some of their amazing baby brie. Yeah. I went there.
Crispy shrimp tacos, with brie, avocado and cilantro. I desperately wished I'd had a lime... oh well. They were, in the lingo of my favorite 'ista, FACE ROCKING! I couldn't believe how well they came out. Crunchy, spicy, creamy... and so satisfying! And, because I can, another picture:
I hope you all had a wonderful Monday! It's ridiculously hot here... like, unseasonably hot. All I want is ice cream, but I'll be responsible and have fruit. Or more shrimp.