Here we are a month later and the CompostMaster is finally assembling the bookcases with help from Nephew #1. Part of the deal is that we feed him lunch. And we pay him. The good news is that he’s going a great job and has even reduced the CompostMaster’s aggravation level a couple of times. Twelve-year-old eyes can read the fine print on assembly instructions much more easily than, uh, older eyes.
For lunch one day during the bookcase project, we made Shrimp Avocado Tostadas. Nephew #1 likes to cook so we tag-teamed. I toasted the chiles, he made the marinade, I fried the tortillas, he mashed the avocado and cooked the shrimp. He pronounced our results good, but said he wished we had cut the shrimp into bite-sized pieces to make them easier to eat. I filed that excellent suggestion away for next time.
You may be thinking that you can’t eat fried food if you’re trying to be healthy. While it’s not a good thing to do every day, I allow myself to indulge once in a while. Frying food at home is preferable to eating the stuff you get in fast food joints. Make sure your oil is hot, but not smoking, before you start. If you have a thermometer, the optimal frying temperature is about 365°F. In the spirit of science, I decided to measure the oil before I started and again after I was done to see how much was actually absorbed by the tortillas. In my experiment, I found that about one tablespoon of oil was absorbed by frying four tortillas, so that’s the value I used to calculate the fat content in this recipe.
Quickly glancing at this recipe, you may think it’s too complicated. Here are some shortcuts that will make the tostadas easier to prepare:
- Buy shrimp that has already been deveined (and peeled), if possible. Just make sure it’s raw and not cooked.
- Skip toasting the chiles and add some chopped peppers from a jar to the marinade.
- Substitute prepared tortilla chips (the healthiest ones you can find) for the fried tortillas. Your “tostadas” will be smaller and a bit more time-consuming for your diners to assemble, but preparation will be easier (and less messy) for you. And, really, it’s all about you anyway. Right?
- Buy pre-made guacamole and use it as the avocado spread.
If you want to eliminate most of the carbs entirely, don’t even bother with the tortillas. The avocado spread makes a great dip for the shrimp. You might want to add extra lime juice to make the avocado mixture thinner and easier to dip.
If you want to reduce the fat, you can bake your tortillas instead of frying them following Food Network’s technique. Just skip the part where you cut the tortillas into wedges; keep them whole.
Shrimp Avocado Tostadas (Gluten-free)
- 2 dried guajillo chile peppers stemmed and seeded
- 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper divided
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 3 avocados
- 3 scallions thinly sliced (white and green parts separated)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus more for frying tortillas
- Sour cream for serving
- Diced tomatoes for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for serving
- Lime wedges halved (for serving)
Toast the chiles:
Toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning frequently, until they start to get speckled. Move them to a bowl and pour in hot water to cover. If the chiles float, use a small saucepan to keep them submerged. Let sit for 15 minutes.
Marinate the shrimp:
Place the chiles, 3 tablespoons of the soaking water, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Discard remaining soaking water and place shrimp in the same bowl. Pour chile mixture over the shrimp and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes.
Fry the tortillas:
Find a skillet just big enough to hold one tortilla. Add 1/4 inch vegetable oil to the skillet and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add one tortilla. Cook until golden brown and crisp on both sides, about 1 minute. Remove to paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Mash the avocado:
Halve and pit the avocados, then use a spoon to remove the flesh to a small bowl. Add white parts of scallions, 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Cook the shrimp:
Heat the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until just opaque, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon lime juice.
Spread avocado mixture on tortillas. Top with shrimp, sour cream, diced tomatoes, scallion greens, and cilantro or parsley. Serve with lime wedges.
Guajillo chile peppers are mild and slightly sweet. If you want more heat, use a hotter chile.
If you don't like heat, substitute ground black pepper for the cayenne.