Over the weekend, one of my favorite websites, Food52.com, won the James Beard Award for Publication of the year for their cookbook, a compilation of winners from their community cooking contests. I’ve used their contest themes for inspiration before, one of which was selected as a Community Pick on their site (pretty exciting, I thought). This time around, the idea is to showcase “Your Best Mango” in a new recipe, and this was what I came up with. Mangoes aren’t an ingredient I frequently cook with, but with Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, I went in a Southwestern direction, adding lime juice, cilantro, and onions to top off a shrimp taco. The shrimps are infused with a complimentary flavor profile, getting grilled with a dash of cumin. And before everything comes together, a small smear of adobo pepper sauce is spread across a lightly toasted tortilla, adding a smoky flavor and a kick of heat.
The combination of mango, cilantro, and lime brings an intense freshness to this recipe, and grilling both the shrimp and the mango adds complexity and layers of flavor. The recipe makes four individual tacos, which serves two people. It can easily be doubled or more.
This is a quick and healthy dinner for the spring and summer, and there are quite a few ways to vary this recipe. In fact, the first time I made this for David, I brought home shrimp and a boneless pork loin chop, undecided about what protein to use in the final version. This hit the grill, too, and although the shrimp won out, pork definitely pairs well with these flavors. The pork chop needs to be well-seasoned before cooking, otherwise it ends up a bit bland and flavorless. If you’re grilling outside, skewer the shrimp and mangoes before putting them on the grill so they don’t fall through the grates. This can also be made indoors on a grill pan (my North End apartment doesn’t let us grill outside) and even a skillet, although you won’t get the grill marks or as much depth of flavor. Alternatively, the mango can be left raw and added to the lime-cilantro marinade as-is. I also found it helpful to quickly chop the shrimp and mangoes into bite-size pieces immediately after cooking.
Shrimp & Mango Tacos
Makes 4 tacos, serves 2
1 mango, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2/3 pounds shrimp, peeled and cleaned
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
4 6 or 8-inch tortillas (preferably whole wheat)
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (optional)
1. Heat the grill or grill pan and grease with a little drizzle of olive oil. Place the mango slices on the grill and cook for 5 minutes, turning them over halfway through. In the meantime, combine the cilantro, lime juice, and red onion in a small bowl. When the mangoes are grilled, remove them from heat and quickly chop them into roughly equal-sized chunks. Add to the cilantro-lime mixture and set aside.
2. Combine cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few twists of freshly ground pepper together in a medium bowl. Toss the raw shrimp in the salt mixture to coat evenly. Skewer the shrimp on a kabob stick if using a grill, or place on a grill pan or skillet in a single layer. Grill for 2 1/2 minutes, then flip the shrimp and cook for an additional minute.
3. Smear a scant 1/4 teaspoon of the adobo sauce, if using, down the center of each tortilla. The amount of adobo used will impact the heat in your taco, so use a light hand to keep the heat mild and allow the mango flavor to shine. Add 1/4 of the shrimp and mango mixtures, then wrap up the ends. Serve immediately.