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Smoky Shrimp Tacos

Smoky Shrimp Tacos


  • 2 tomatoes on the vine or 2 heirloom tomatoes

  • 32 peeled and deveined medium to large shrimp, tails removed

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 tbsp. butter

  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped chipotle peppers (from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce)

  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika or regular sweet paprika

  • 1 scant tsp. cumin seeds (about 1/3 palmful)

  • ¼ cup mezcal

  • 1 tbsp. honey

  • Salt and pepper

  • 2 limes—1 juiced (about 2 tbsp.), 1 cut into wedges

  • 12 small (6-inch) corn tortillas

  • 1 head iceberg lettuce—cored, quartered, and shredded

  • Finely chopped white or red onion, fresh cilantro leaves, and pickled jalapeño slices, for topping


Step 1

Preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet lined with foil; broil, turning occasionally, until charred all over, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool. Chop the tomatoes and place on paper towels to drain. (Or, for an easy substitute, if you can find diced fire-roasted tomatoes, use one 14-oz. can and drain it well.)

Step 2

Pat the shrimp dry.

Step 3

In a large cast-iron skillet or other wide skillet, heat the oil, two turns of the pan, over medium-high. Add the butter. When it foams, add the garlic, chipotles, paprika, and cumin seeds; cook, swirling the pan, until aromatic, about a minute. Add the tomatoes; cook, stirring often, until slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add the mezcal (stand back—it might ignite) and honey. Return to heat and swirl the pan until the sauce is slightly reduced, about 1 minute more.

Step 4

Add the shrimp to the sauce; season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning occasionally, until the shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the lime juice. Transfer the shrimp to a large bowl.

Step 5

In a skillet over high heat or over the open flame of a gas burner, cook the tortillas, turning with tongs, until charred in spots, 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap in a cloth napkin or towel to keep warm.

Step 6

Serve the shrimp with the tortillas, lettuce, toppings, and lime wedges.