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Saturday, June 9, 2012

Crispy Shrimp Tacos w/ Savory Tomato Broth & Pickled Vegetables

Around this house, if we're running low on food and looking for something to make, one of the first go-to's is flautas, or crispy tacos.  Have some leftover chicken in the fridge?  Let's have flautas!  Shredded beef or pork from a meal yesterday?  Flautas.  A couple potatoes sitting in the crate?  Cook 'em up nice and tender and mash in some chipotle and maybe some chorizo if we're lucky.  What do we have?  Mmm hmmm, you guessed it.  Flautas.  Same goes for beans.  They make a super tasty flautas filling.

But before yesterday, I had never put any sort of seafood into my flautas.  The thought never even crossed my mind.  I don't know why.  Fried fish?  Yum.  Fried shrimp.  Oh yes.  I just hadn't even contemplated rolling them up in a hot tortilla instead of dipping them in a batter or tossing them in bread crumbs.

That's all changed now.
Personally, these little shrimp morsels bathed in a rich, tomatoey broth are delectable enough to eat alone.  And in all honesty, I may prefer it that way.  But I'm down with rolling pretty much anything in a tortilla.  This girl loves her tacos, after all.

I think the best part was the contrast that bathing crispy little tubes of shrimp in a hot savory tomato broth imparted.  The outside edges staying crispy while the insides started to lose that crunch and gain that tortilla-casserole essence.  And then add some pungent and slightly crispy quick pickled veggies to the top of the whole shebang. Oh yeah.  

Crispy Shrimp Tacos w/ Savory Tomato Broth & Pickled Vegetables (Tacos Dorados Estilo Escuinapa con Caldo de Jitomate y Verduras Escabechadas)

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
Cook Time: 45-60 minutes
Keywords: fry entree tomatoes shrimp Mexican

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
    for tomato broth:
    • 1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes w/ juices
    • ½ small white onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 2 c. fish, shellfish, or chicken broth
    • ~½ tsp. salt
    for pickled vegetables:
    • ⅔ c. rice vinegar
    • 1 c. water
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 sprig fresh thyme (or a big pinch of dried)
    • 1 tsp. sugar
    • ½ tsp.
    • 2 medium carrots, cut into thin matchstick-style sticks (to yield ~4 oz.)
    • ½ small white onion, thinly sliced
    • 4 c. (loosely packed) thinly sliced Napa Cabbage
    for tacos:
    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • small white onion, cut into 1/4" dice
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 3 serrano chiles, stemmed, seeded, & finely diced
    • 1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes w/ juices
    • 12 oz. peeled & deveined shrimp, cut into 1/2" pieces
    • ¼ c. chopped cilantro
    • salt
    • oil, for frying
    • 18-22 thin corn tortillas
    Tomato Broth:
    Puree the tomatoes and their juices along with the onion and garlic in a blender until smooth.

    Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Set a strainer over the top and pour the puree through it. Press through with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Remove strainer and stir until noticeably darker and thicker, ~5 minutes.

    Add broth and bring to a boil. Partially cover and reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt.

    Pickled Vegetables:
    Combine vinegar, water, bay leaf, thyme, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Heat to a simmer. Place carrots in a heatproof bowl and pour the vinegar mixture over the top of them. When they are cool, add the onion and cabbage and toss.

    Crispy Tacos (flautas):
    In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring regularly, until translucent, ~3-4 minutes. Add garlic and chiles and cook for another minute. Add tomatoes wit their juices and cook, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is thick. Stir in shrimp and cook for 1 minute, or until pink. Remove from heat and allow to cool a bit. Stir in cilantro and salt.

    Pour a couple of inches of oil into a deep-sided skillet and heat until shimmering (~360° F).

    Wrap tortillas in a clean kitchen towel and microwave until very hot and pliable, 3-5 minutes. You could also give each tortilla a quick dip (few seconds each) in hot oil and remove to paper towel-lined tray to drain. Which ever way you choose, stack 'em up.

    Spoon a line of shrimp filling across the bottom third of the tortilla (scant 3 tablespoons each) leaving about an inch border on each edge; then roll up tightly. Roll them all and line them up on a tray until your filling is used up. If you need to, skewer the rolls with toothpicks or thin skewers to keep them together.

    When you're ready to serve, fry the tacos in hot oil until crisp, 2-3 minutes. Don't crowd the pan, do this in batches. Remove from oil using tongs onto a paper towel-lined tray until all of the tacos are fried.

    To serve, ladle some hot broth over the tacos and top with a pile of the pickled vegetables and eat immediately.

    slightly adapted from Fiesta at Rick's
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    Would you like to comment?

    1. Oh, YES! I totally agree - I'll turn just about any leftover into a taco. Everything is better in a tortilla!! Yum.

    2. How'd you know!? ;) There is definitely great food all around us everywhere we go...just waiting to be appreciated! =)

    3. It's just the region, really. Some people call them taquitos. In Mexico, crispy tacos are rolled. The place my husband my husband is from calls them flautas...and that's what I've always called them. I know it's not "right", but when I think of taquitos, I think of gas stations and frozen food - eeek! Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to.

    4. Linda-There and Back AgainJune 9, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      Oh my, I have to try this, no only with the shrimp, but with everything else. I usually make burritos, but I get flautas at restaurants. Now I'll make them at home!

    5. oh yum those sound so delicious!! and that broth looks just magnificent! thanks for sharing!

    6. Yummy!
      These look really good, and I'm sure they taste even're making me hungry.

    7. This looks so good! I probably would have finished all the filling before doing them to the tacos.

    8. This is what you come up when when you're 'low on food'? Hmmm, I need to take notes from the master.

    9. Well, not THIS type in particular...just flautas in general ;). Although...there's usually onions, garlic, canned tomatoes and tortillas (or at least masa) hanging around. And a lone bag of frozen shrimp, if I'm lucky. Small amounts of stock in the freezer. Odds and ends in the veggie drawer... So maybe!

    10. There is nothing better than a trusty dish that can be a reliable go to for ALL possible ingredients. I have eaten flautas, but never made them. Think that's about to change - especially since I'm newly obsessed with my tortilla press and looking for ANY excuse to use it!

    11. These look perfect Heather!

    12. I'm so hungry for these now! I've never made flautas, shrimp or otherwise, but these look like something I could do. :)

    13. I've just had dinner - seen this and now I'm hungry! these look and sound SO good!
      Mary x

    14. What a great twist to eating wraps! Looks delicious, prawns are always welcome in my house! This looks good!

    15. looks wonderful delicious picture

    16. Oh, I could do some serious damage to those shrimp--and think of lots of ways to use them. They look delicious!

    17. Gerry @ Foodness GraciousJune 10, 2012 at 1:18 AM

      I love to dip my flautas in some creamy guac! These sound super tasty with the shrimp. Nice idea about the leftovers :)

    18. Gorgeous. I love the presentation where they are sitting in the tomato broth and have all the pickled veggie on top. This sure was a tasty dish.

    19. I think you're right, the shrimp mixture would be great over a bowl of rice. They look delicious. I am trying this week.

    20. Yummmmmm!!! And I love the contrast with the pickled veggies, definitely my cup of tea. I still have yet to try flautas.

    21. This looks wonderful, Heather. LOVE Mexican food!

    22. That's a really interesting and innovative combo!

    23. oh yum this looks amazing!

      check out my blog if you can..

      I am a high school student cooking to culinary school!

    24. I want one of those like right now. They look fabulous Heather. And with the addition of pickled veggies? yum.

    25. These look pretty darn wonderful with the tomatoey shrimp and crispy tortillas. I am especially loving the pickled vegetables on top. ;-)

    26. You know I am there Heather!

    27. Joanne (Eats Well With Others)June 11, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      These would make for such fabulous hor d'ourves! I love the big flavors you've infused into them.

    28. Ohhh... I need to do this with my leftovers! Put anything in a shell, and it's a taco. Make it crispy, faluta!

    29. I love flautas, our fav filling is leftover thanksgiving trukey/stuffing mix... beans.... hmm had not thought of that, loving that idea!!

    30. I have been pouring over all of your recipes this morning! I'm so glad you stopped by my site because I have now become addicted to yours! I'm pinning everything!

    31. Thanks so much! I'm excited to follow definitely had my mouth watering this morning. Can't wait to read more :)

    32. So what's the difference between flautas and taquitos? These look Incredible!!

    33. Heather-you would be lots of fun with to go on a food road trip-it would be a trip of all eating.