Cinco de Mayo: Shrimp tacos with spring onion salsa

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Mexican inspired shrimp tacos.

Feasting On Art
A shrimp taco with a grape tomato, radish, and spring onion salsa made bright with a squeeze of lime.
Feasting on Art
Diego Rivera, "The Boy with the Taco" ("Niño con Taco," 1932), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (left). Diego Rivera, "The temptations of Saint Antony" ("Las tentaciones de San Antonio," 1947) Museuo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City (right).

While completing a mental inventory of the refrigerator during my walk home, I began to reminisce about the flavors of the stacked tortilla torta. Clicking through my art archives, the two images below caught my eye, specifically because they are works by Rivera not painted upon a wall. Looking at them together inspired a shrimp taco recipe with a grape tomato, radish and spring onion salsa.

The flavors are fresh and bright, helped with a squeeze of fresh lime to finish. In her essay "Roadside Diners" in issue 6 of Jamie Magazine, Alice Waters reminisces, “we engaged in a favourite pastime: adding recipes to our fictional cookbook Everything Tastes Better with Lime.”

The line resonated with me and I began playing the same game, buying limes by the dozen to squeeze over everything. Out of 84 recipe posts on this blog, almost 20 percent include a finish with fresh citrus. In the case of the Mexican recipes, the splash of lime really makes the dish sing.

While attending the San Carlos Academy in Mexico City, Diego Rivera worked in the studio of José Guadalupe Posada, a leading printmaker of the time. The lithograph, "Niño con Taco," was created the same year that Rivera commenced his work on the Detroit Industry frescoes. The lithograph features a stylized little boy in his signature style of simplified forms and strong lines. Completed about 15 years later, "The temptations of Saint Anthony," 1947 illustrates the supernatural temptation of St. Anthony in Egypt.

Allegedly, Rivera drew his inspiration for radish figures from an annual competition in Oaxaco where the story of Christmas is displayed with radish compositions.

Shrimp Tacos with Grape Tomato, Radish and Spring Onion Salsa

Makes 4 tacos

200 grams (about 2 cups) shrimp, shelled & devined
1 chipotle chilli (minced) + 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 avocado
1 cup grape tomato, radish & spring onion salsa (recipe below)
handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
lime wedges
hot sauce
Flour tortillas 

Mix the shrimp, chipotle, and adobo sauce, oregano and cumin in a small bowl. Add a slick of olive oil to a frying pan and set over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the shrimp and cover with a lid, cooking and stirring occasionally until the flesh becomes opaque, 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice avocado and chop fresh coriander. Once the shrimp are cooked, assemble the taco.

Lay a tortilla flat on a plate and lay out three slices of avocado. Spoon over 1/4 cup of the grape tomato, radish and spring onion salsa and top with a quarter of the shrimp, fresh sprigs of coriander, squeeze of lime and a few dashes of hot sauce. Eat immediately.

Grape Tomato, Radish and Spring Onion Salsa

1 large radish
1 spring onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 lime, juiced
10 grape tomatoes, deseeded
small handful coriander (cilantro)

Slice the spring onion into thin discs and place in a small bowl. Chop the radish into small cubes and add to the spring onion. Juice 1/2 of a lemon and add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the vegetables, toss. Let the radish and onion sit for 20 minutes to become slightly pickled.

Meanwhile, slice the grape tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds. Roughly chop and add to the radishes. Chop fresh coriander and mix into the salsa. Serve with shrimp tacos, will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated.

Related post on Feasting on Art: Stacked Tortilla Torta

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