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Cheesy Shrimp Tacos

Rick Bayless / Frontera Grill

¾ lb (2 medium-small round or 4 or 5 plum) ripe tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch pieces     

Fresh Serrano chilies to taste, (roughly 3 to 5, or more if you like it picanté), stemmed, seeded if you wish, and finely chopped

¼ cup chopped cilantro, thick bottom stems removed

1 large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped

1 small white onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon Mexican hot sauce (such as Valentina or Tamazula), plus extra for serving

1 tablespoon ketchup

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice (optional, but you might like the zing it adds)


About 1/3 cup vegetable oil, divided use

1 lb. small shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped into pieces a little smaller than ½ inch

15 corn tortillas

8 ounces shredded Mexican melting cheese (full-flavored Chihuahua or Jack cheese work best)


Making the” salsa.” Scoop the tomatoes, chilies, cilantro, garlic and white onion into a bowl and mix well. Stir in the hot sauce, ketchup, and optional lime juice. Taste and season with salt, usually about a scant teaspoon.


Making the shrimp filling. Heat a very large (12-inch), heavy skillet—nonstick works really well—over medium-high. Pour in 2 tablespoons of the oil and when it is hot, add the “salsa” vegetables. Cook, stirring regularly, until everything softens together, about 5 minutes. Scoop in the shrimp and stir until they are barely cooked through (they can still be slightly translucent at the center)—about 3 minutes. Scoop the shrimp mixture into a bowl, wash and dry the skillet, and return it to medium heat.


Assembling the encamaronadas. Heavily film the bottom of the skillet with oil. When hot, lay in a tortilla. After a few seconds, flip it, then scatter a couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese over one side, top with a generous tablespoon of the filling. Use tongs to fold the uncovered part of the tortilla over the filling, forming a turnover. Gently press flat. Continue to make encamaronadas in the same fashion until the skillet is full, frying them until crisp—2 to 3 minutes per side. As they become crisp, remove them to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve right away with more Mexican hot sauce.



Makes 15 tacos



(See Rick Bayless's recipe here.)

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