When pizza can’t be had, turn to tacos

The Associated PressJune 4, 2014 

What I really wanted was pizza. But I was too lazy to drive down to the pizza shop to get it, and they only deliver if you order $40 or more. And as much as I like pizza, that’s a lot of pizza.

So I needed a dinner that was equally comforting, equally flavorful, but required even less effort and time than heading into town. My inspiration? Well, aside from the pizza I wasn’t having, that is … a 1-pound bag of frozen raw shrimp.

I firmly believe that if you like shrimp, you should always have a few bags of them in the freezer. They thaw quickly and cook even more quickly. As in minutes. I decided to convert my bag into sweet-and-tangy shrimp tacos, a good eat-with-your-hands sort of comfort food that would come together with minimal fuss.

Aside from the cooking of the shrimp, use this recipe just as a guide. I like to top my tacos with soft goat cheese and avocado, but use whatever you like. Ditto for the flour tortillas; corn would be fine, too. Or if you really want, take all the same ingredients and dump them over a plate of tortilla chips for easy nachos.

Whatever you do, don’t skip the tiny amount of sugar added when cooking the shrimp. It’s a trick I learned from Alex Guarnaschelli. It acts like salt to help highlight the natural briny-sweet flavor of the shrimp.

Sweet-and-Tangy Shrimp Tacos  •  2 tablespoons butter

 •  1/2 medium red onion, diced

 •  1 pound shelled, raw large shrimp

 •  1 teaspoon sugar

 •  1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

 •  1/2 cup thinly sliced Peppadew peppers

 •  Ground black pepper

 •  Four 8-inch flour tortillas

 •  1 heart romaine lettuce, finely chopped

 •  2 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese

 •  1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

In a large saute pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and sugar and saute until just barely pink and firm, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the red pepper flakes and Peppadews, then heat for another minute. Season with black pepper.

Arrange a quarter of the romaine down the center of each tortilla, then top with a quarter of the shrimp and Peppadew mixture. Top each serving with a quarter of the cheese and the avocado slices. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 460 calories; 190 calories from fat (41 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (8 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 195 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 6 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 31 g protein; 750 mg sodium.

Start to finish: 20 minutes Yield: Makes 4 servings

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