taste of Mexico's amazing shrimp
By Shannon K. Johnson
“Where is the bathroom?” I
asked of the hostess at Red Robin late on a Saturday
afternoon. A question that would hardly seem unusual,
but only a few hours early my question would have been
phrased very differently.
“Donde esta el bano?”
I have just received the first stamp
on the broad virgin pages of my passport and my destination
I had four years of high school Spanish,
a hundred dollars cash, and a family who packed 13 bags
for eight people. So we loaded up baggage carts and
tipped the couriers who brought us out of customs and
took a big white van to our resort.
I have never been outside the country
and we did not rent a car so I never got a chance to
see the “true” Mexico, but I saw the resort side of
Mexico. While the open air hummers filled with soldiers
whose back’s were slung with black automatic weapons
encouraged us to stay in the safe parts of the town.
But other than the occasional convoy
driving by Mazatlan was beautiful.
It was hot but not buggy and aside
from lots of shopping, and a kayaking trip to a small
island for snorkeling with sting rays, many days were
spent laying on the beach and munching on food from
the resort or made by my Aunt’s mother.
Mexico was the epitome of a lazy
One interesting fact about Mazatlan
is that it is a major shrimping area. Early in the morning
my uncle would walk out to the shoreline and buy fresh
caught shrimp from the fisherman who sold their wares
on the beach.
In the week I have been back I have
tried to find fresh shrimp and been unsuccessful. Logan
is very landlocked and all the grocers I have been to
stock formerly or presently frozen shrimp.
Even though little can be done to
imitate the fresh shrimp cooked in fresh lime juice
and butter, but here is a close substitute that has
a little taste of Mexico.
Since all the shrimp are frozen I
purchase peeled and cooked shrimp to make the cooking
quick and easy.
I am planning to bring a little Mexico
First, I sliced one small yellow
onions and nine mushrooms and lightly frying them in
butter, garlic pepper and lots of lime juice and of
course the shrimp.
While the mix is cooking, I heat
up a nice flat griddle and butter the corn tortillas
with a tiny bit of garlic salt.
Corn tortillas are naturally stiff
and the only way to keep them from crumbling is the
warm them up. It can be done in the microwave or the
way I prefer-on the stove.
Once the fajitas are fully cooked
which should not take long with cooked shrimp. Otherwise
wait till the fish turns pink and white rather than
the gray of raw shrimp.
But either way make sure the onions
and mushrooms are caramelized.
To finish the fajitas I lay a fat
slice of fresh mozzarella or spread goat cheese on the
tortilla as a substitute for the Mexican cheese mixes
that so many use.
In fact there is a type of cheese
that is called “Mexican” in Mexico that is white and
mild in taste much like the fresh mozzarella rather
than the cheddar jack mixes seen stateside as Mexican.