I think that it’s officially safe to the warm weather is here to stay!
This spring has been all over the place when it comes to the weather. One day it’s sunny & gorgeous, and the next day it’s grey & freezing. It’s a very hard life we lead here in Brooklyn.
I actually made these tacos two or three weeks ago, but the very next day the weather took a turn and I felt weird posting them when it was so chilly outside.
The day I made them was absolutely gorgeous though, and Russell and I had the day to ourselves to wander Brooklyn and frolic in the sunshine.
So frolic we did.
We walked into Williamsburg and found a cute little place to have brunch, and afterward we went to a local nursery and got some new plants for the yard. It was still pretty early in the season so they didn’t have a huge selection, and our yard has the perfect combination of total shade, no hose hook-up, and super dry crappy soil; so we have to be careful about what we plant. About 60% of what I experiment with back there doesn’t make it through the first year, but we’re hoping the pachysandra we picked up will be hardy enough to survive our humble little wasteland.
So… fingers crossed!
After that we stopped by an old family fish market to get some shrimp to grill for dinner.
When Russell makes fish tacos he usually makes a quick sauce with plain greek yogurt and sriracha, but this time I wanted to try something fun and a little different. I made a quick cilantro pesto to marinate the shrimp, and then made a jalapeño crema to add some creamy zip.
Both these sauces are super simple and easy to make if you have a food processor, so don’t be intimidated that you have to make two sauces. I also recommend skewering the shrimp to make them easier to flip on the grill and make sure they don’t fall through into the fire, but if you don’t have skewers it’s not impossible to grill the shrimp without them.
My playing around really paid off. The shrimp came out tender, smoky, herby, tangy and perfect. Grilling them over a charcoal fire rather than gas definitely adds a lot of extra smokiness, but if you have a gas grill you can add a smoke box with wood chips to replicate the same flavor.
The bright fresh red cabbage adds a really nice crunch, and the jalapeño crema adds a welcome creaminess with a hint of spice. Mine actually wasn’t very spicy at all, but that will depend on your jalapeños. A nice squeeze of bright fresh lime juice and you’re in shrimp taco heaven!
grilled shrimp tacos with cilantro pesto
2 cups fresh cilantro, lightly packed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1/2 cup sour cream or Mexican crema
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
2 seeded jalapeños
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded red cabbage
1 lime cut into wedges
To make the cilantro pesto combine garlic, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, salt, & pepper in a food processor and process until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl with shrimp and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or two, or overnight.
Clean the food processor and make the crema. Combine the sour cream or crema, lime juice, salt, and jalapeño and process until completely smooth.
I recommend using skewers to make the shrimp easier to flip and keep them from falling into the grill. If using wooden skewers make sure to soak them in water for an hour before use so they don’t burn up.
Add 5 or 6 shrimp to each skewer and try to leave as much of the pesto on them as possible. Grill the shrimp over a medium to high flame until just cooked through, flipping once. This should only take 3 or 4 minutes per side but that will depend on the heat in your grill. Warm your tortillas over the grill too, just until soft and warm, about a minute per side.
Assemble the tacos with two to three shrimp each, a sprinkle of shredded cabbage, a drizzle of crema, and a squeeze of fresh lime.