Fried Shrimp Tacos.

When you have one of those days in San Francisco where the high hits almost 80 degrees, you hope and pray that the warm weather will carry into the evening and when it does, it's cause for celebration.  You'll want to be outside and soak in the all-too-rare warm night with a good drink in hand and a dinner that does it justice.  

I was (am) in the midst of re-reading Jeffery Steingarten's It Must Have Been Something I Ate for the ....who knows how many times?  Mr. Steingarten is still one of the best food writers/critics out there.  He was one of the reasons my twin and I eagerly bought Vogue magazine while barely out of middle school in Houston, Texas over 20 years ago.  One day, I'd like to shake his hand then mumble something awkward and sycophantic all in one breath and, finally, run off starry-eyed.  One day.....

Until then, I had his essay "Crossing the Line", which he writes about the greatest carne asada tacos from Tijuana stuck in my head and realized that tacos would be the only apropos meal for this night.  Unfortunately, (fortunately?!) we were still reeling from our previous weekend in LA's glorious Koreatown, filled with kalbi (shortrib), bugolgi (marinated sirloin), saemgyupseol (pork belly), gabeurisal (pork jowl) and gopchang (marinated intestine) and felt that maybe a lighter fare might be in order.

We decided to still go with a Baja-inspired menu but one with both a seared spicy salmon and crispy fried shrimps as options, as I said, lighter fare.  I knew that the clear winner would be the fried shrimp.  And it was.  

Crispy Shrimp Tacos + Dill & Caper Dressing:

Serves 2 to 3 

Time: 10 min


Crispy Shrimp:

1/3 c grapeseed oil*

2 tbls extra virgin olive oil*

1 tbls Louisiana Seafood Seasoning

1/2 c of cornstarch

3 tbls flour (optional)**

2 eggs

15 jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined

Dill & Caper Dressing:

2 tbls Kewpie Mayo (or any good mayonnaise)

1 tbls capers, roughly minced

1 tbls fresh dill,chopped

1 small lemon wedge

s & p, to taste

Red Cabbage Slaw:

1/4 c of rice vinegar

1/3 tbls of sugar

1/4 c of extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 small red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 c of fresh cilantro, chopped

1/2 of small fresh lime (optional)

Garnishes & Sides:

corn &/or flour tortillas, warmed

lime wedges




Fried shrimp tacos
Setting up for dinner.  

Setting up for dinner.  

Crispy Shrimp:

1.  In shallow dish, mix seafood seasoning, cornstarch and flour* until well mixed.

2.  In different bowl, whisk together eggs.

3.  Dip shrimp into seasoned cornstarch mix, shake off excess, dip into egg mixture and coat again in seasoned cornstarch.  Set aside.

4.  In large saucepan, heat both grapeseed & olive oil over medium heat.  Should be approximately 1" of oil to cover pan.

5.  When oil is heated, test by dropping small amount of cornstarch mixture into oil, should bubble right away.  If not, raise temperature a bit.  

6.  Fry shrimp in batches, turning over once to ensure crispiness on both sides.  Drain on brown paper bags or paper towels.  

7.  Top w/fresh cilantro.  Serve warm! 

If I'm still fussing about, which I did, I like to keep the finished shrimp (WITHOUT the cilantro), covered lightly with foil in a pre-heated warm oven (approx 180° F) until I'm ready to serve.


Dill & Caper Dressing:

Stir all ingredients in small bow, taste, and serve along shrimp.


Red Cabbage Slaw:

1.  Whisk together sugar and rice vinegar until sugar has dissolved for most part.  

2.  Incorporate olive oil. 

3.  Season with dried oregano & basil.

4.  Toss in red cabbage & cilantro, coat well.

5.  Squeeze in fresh lime juice, if you desire

6. Season with s&p, if needed.


* grapeseed oil is fairly neutral in taste and has a higher frying temperature then olive oil and I add the olive oil for a little flavor.

** for those in life who maintain a gluten-free diet, omitting the flour makes this gluten free.  The coat will be thinner then a more flour-based crust but it won't lack any of the crispiness.