Last summer, I was still trying to impress the ladyfriend with my culinary skills, and was hunting through Food Dimensions in Bushwick trying to come up with something that would make a most romantical dinner. The operative words here, in case you couldn’t guess, are “Food Dimensions”, “Bushwick”, and “Romantical”. You may be able to appreciate my dilemma here. Fortunately, Aphrodite, Eros, and Hermes (that’s the Greek god of invention, FYI) smiled upon me that day, in the form of the following items that happened to be on sale: tortillas, roma tomatoes, and shrimp. How could I fashion these simple ingredients into something most, well, impressive and romantical? The answer was clear: Mexican Shrimp Pizzas. Thanks, Hermes. I owe you one.
Making them is a several step process, but relatively simple (and none of which involve a 24 oz. can of Coors, but it never hurts to have one of those guys along). We’re not giving specific proportions, as the recipe is flexible and everything below can be made to your taste and the amount of people you are serving. The elements of these keep well for a few days and Mexican Shrimp Pizzas can easily be assembled for a quick week night dinner.
Beans (or canned refried beans or black beans to save time),
Cotilla cheese or queso fresco (optional),
Salt n’ Peppa
Onion and garlic powder
Cumin and corriander
Red pepper flakes
Hot sauce (optional).
Start by chopping the vegetables: Dice the tomatoes and half a tomatillo, finely dice the onions, crush the garlic with a garlic press, chop the cilantro and peel the avocados.
For the guacamole: combine avocados, garlic, tomatillo, salt, cilantro and lime juice in a medium and mush together with a fork or potato masher. Save the avocados pits and keep in the guac until you are ready to assemble the pizzas to keep it from turning brown.
For the beans: saute a small amount of the onions and garlic, add beans, add salt, pepper, cumin and coriander. Heat until warm and bubbling. Add water as necessary to keep them from drying out.
For the tortillas: heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Fry each tortilla over medium heat for 5 minutes on one side and 2 minutes on the other, or until golden brown on each side. Add salt. Stack on plate covered with paper towel. The most useful utensils for turning the tortillas in a hot pan with oil is two dinner forks, I’ve found.
For the shrimp: simultaneously combine in a hot pan diced onions and garlic, and shrimp (shelled). While you are frying them add onion and garlic powder and red pepper flakes and a little bit of Tapatio or favorite hot sauce. Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked through and the onions, etc. are sticking to the shrimp.
Assembly: Take the fried tortilla and spread the beans on it, add a guacamole layer, then add a shrimp layer, and top with a plum tomato layer. Place the “pizza” on a baking sheet. Crumble the optional cheese on top and broil on high until the cheese is toasty and brown. Remove from oven and garnish with cilantro. Squeeze lime juice over the top and add your favorite hot sauce if you desire. See top photo. Can be eaten whole or sliced into quarters to make Mexican Shrimp Pizza slices
Romantitude achieved. Sweet.