Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul blossom.Marcel Proust
Baby, it’s hot outside! In most parts of the country, it’s hot, hot, H-O-T! And these are the days and evenings where cooking means something simple, healthy and appealing to everyone. This Sunday, let’s make it super-easy and family-fun-casual with shrimp fajitas. After all, it’s National Fajita Day on August 18, so let’s get the fajita party started early!
Shrimp fajitas are a terrific way to enjoy a light and healthy dinner for friends or the family. Combined with just the right spices and cooking perfection, you’re going to feel like you were sitting on the patio of your favorite Mexican restaurant — only you’ll to be at home on your own patio surrounded by the ones you love.
These shrimp fajitas are as easy as 1-2-3. In fact, you’ll likely spend a bit more time preparing the condiments or side dishes than the fajitas themselves. This is where you get the family fun started early in the kitchen. Kids can get the salsas and sauces, cheeses and other toppings set out in bowls while you’re preparing the lovely shrimp. (And if some family members don’t like fish or shrimp, these chile-spiced rib-eye tacos are da bomb . . . and a perfect complement to the shrimp.)
Let’s talk about the shrimp. With shrimp, size matters, so try and get the largest you can find. I was lucky to find U-15 shrimp (meaning 15 shrimp for each pound) from Mexico the other day. They were already deveined and cleaned, so all I had to do was remove the shells and tails. Some like to leave the tails on for a different presentation; I prefer removing them to make it easier for serving and eating in the tortillas at the table.
Grab some fresh bell peppers. For this dinner, I chose a combination of yellow, red, and orange. Their sweetness and colors make a lively presentation. Add in some sliced red or white onion and sautee on the stove in a bit of olive oil with salt and pepper. If you like it extra spicy, add in some chopped jalapeno or poblano. Just know your audience; the spices that go onto the shrimp may be enough for your family dinner without the extra peppers.
Topping choices are only limited by your imagination. Combined with your flour or corn tortillas, you can try:
- Pico de Gallo
- Sour Cream
- Red or Green Salsa
- Sliced Avocado
- Cotija Cheese (a Mexican white crumbly cheese)
- Lettuce or Cabbage
Once your peppers and onions are cooking, it’s time to get the shrimp ready. In a medium sized bowl, add the shrimp and the spices. There’s no need for a long marinade on the shrimp. Just ensure they’re well-coated with the spice mixture and you’ll produce a super-flavorful taste with every bite.
I cooked the shrimp in the same pan as the peppers and onions. Once the veggies were cooked to a still crunchy, yet caramelized stage, I removed them from the pan and set aside. Add a bit more oil to the pan as needed or desired and get warm before adding the shrimp. Cook the shrimp on a fairly high heat ensuring they are cooked through to a light pink color. Try to take off the heat as soon as they are cooked through; the longer they stay on the heat, the tougher they may become, and we want them to retain their succulence.
Gather your platters and bowls, and set everything out in the center of the table. The beauty of this dish is it that it allows everyone to prepare their fajita the way they like it and all the while everyone is having fun talking and enjoying family time.
This shrimp fajitas dinner is likely to become a family favorite to be enjoyed year round. When everyone is satiated and happy, still lingering at the table to enjoy seconds and more family conversation and fun, your heart will be full from the love of family — and another Sunday dinner memory.
Sunday Dinner ~ Shrimp Fajitas
- 10-inch skillet
- 2 tablespoons EVOO
- 3 whole peppers – one each red, yellow and orange, or your favorite combination sliced
- 1 red onion thrinly sliced
- 3 teaspoons chili powder tradition, chipotle or adobe chili powder, whichever is your preference (or a combination)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teasoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 pound U-15 or large shrimp shelled, deveined and tails removed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add peppers and onions and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables and tender and partially charred.Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl mix together the chile powder(s), cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste. Add shrimp and toss gently to coat completely.
- Remove onions and peppers from pan. Add shrimp to pan and cook until shrimp are opaque — approximately 4 minutes. Do NOT overcook.
- Garnish with a lime squeeze and/or cilantro. Bring to table with your favoite toppings and tortillas.