Southwest Shrimp Tacos

David Dial | Spiced Blog Updated
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Southwest shrimp tacos are quick and easy to make. They're also huge crowd pleasers!

Southwest Shrimp Tacos Photo

My wife and I came across this recipe for southwestern shrimp tacos back when we were first living together in Atlanta. Back then, we often entertained ourselves on the weekends by going to our favorite farmer’s market and then hunting down recipes to make based on our basket of very cheap and very delicious produce.

Well, the week in question happened to feature cilantro. Cilantro is one of those herbs that you either love or hate. (I personally love it, but I’ve also heard folks say that it tastes like eating lemon furniture polish.) For those of you that love cilantro, it’s ridiculously easy to grow and it is now a staple in my herb garden every year. You can use it in salsa, tacos like these, or even Urvashee's cilantro chutney recipe.

Southwest Shrimp Tacos Picture

I remember the weekend well. The weather was just turning warm (which means it was probably February in Atlanta), and I had a serious hankering to get the grill out. I know cilantro works well in tons of different marinades and grilling recipes, but my wife had been craving southwestern flavors.

So when I stumbled across a recipe that featured cilantro, allowed me to use the grill and satisfy my wife’s southwestern flavors craving… well, then I knew it was a winner!

I recall making a couple of changes to this southwest sauce, but for the life of me I don’t remember where I found the original recipe. I do know this recipe has now become one of our favorite summer grilling recipes! Enjoy!

Southwest Shrimp Tacos Image

These southwestern shrimp tacos might look like a lot of work, but they’re really not all that difficult to make. However, they are probably better suited for a weekend meal as the recipe does involve a couple of steps.

  • The southwestern sauce tastes even better the next day, so plan to work ahead. Like a good soup or stew, the flavors in this sauce will meld together overnight. If possible, make the sauce the day before and let it sit covered in the refrigerator overnight. (Making the sauce a day ahead also makes this meal much faster to prepare, too.)
  • I prefer to grill the corn without the husk as I find that the bits of charred corn contribute a great deal of flavor to the tacos. I grill the husked corn for about 10-12 minutes over medium-high heat, turning once or twice to encourage even grilling.
  • One of the keys to this recipe is the quick marinade for the shrimp. The shrimp only get marinated for about 15 minutes. Shrimp are delicate, and the lime juice in this marinade will actually start to cook the shrimp (similar to ceviche). I don’t recommend marinating the shrimp longer than 15 minutes or else they’ll get mealy.
  • Shrimp don’t take long to cook on the grill. Because of this, I always use skewers when grilling shrimp as it makes flipping the shrimp much, much easier. Just don’t forget to soak wooden skewers in water for about 30 minutes first to prevent them from burning on the grill. This is also a great recipe for the Firewire Double Prong Skewers.

Southwest Shrimp Tacos Recipe

    12 Servings

Ingredients

  • 3 Corn on The Cobs, Husks removed
  • 2 tablespoons Butter, Melted
  • 2 pounds Shrimp, Large enough to grill easily, peeled and deveined
For the Marinade:
  • 1/2 tablespoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 cloves Garlics, Minced
  • 1/3 cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
For the Southwest Sauce:
  • 16 ounces Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons Red Onion, Finely chopped
  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 tablespoons Buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Lime Juice
For the Tacos:
  • 10-12 Flour Tortillas, Small
  • Lettuce, Shredded
  • 1 Avocado, Thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
  • Fresh Lime Juice

Directions

For the Southwest Sauce:

  1. In a medium bowl, add all of the southwest sauce ingredients; whisk together until well blended.
  2. If possible, make this sauce the day before and store covered in the refrigerator overnight. The flavors will meld together and the sauce will taste even better on the 2nd day!

For the Marinade:

  1. Using a large bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients. Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Set aside for 15 minutes.

For the Tacos:

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush the corn lightly with melted butter and grill until grill marks form, about 10-12 minutes. Remove corn from grill. Once cooled slightly, cut the corn off of the cob with a sharp knife. Set aside.
  3. Once the shrimp have marinated for about 15 minutes, remove from the Marinade and place on wooden skewers. Discard Marinade.
  4. Grill shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, or until fully cooked.
  5. Place the grilled shrimp into the flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and grilled corn. Finish with a generous amount of the Southwest Sauce and an extra dash of lime juice.

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David Dial

About David

David is bringing up the guy quotient here on Food Fanatic, representing all things Grilling in a big way. On his own site, Spiced, David covers every kind of culinary adventure.