A spicy, south-of-the-border twist on an Italian specialty, highlighting the green chile pepper, juicy jumbo shrimp, gooey frying cheese, & creamy avocado.
Raise your hand if you love Mexican food!
How about Italian?
Have you ever tried to blend the two together? That’s exactly what I tried to do with these Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Taco Boats, and while it may not have come out like I imagined, I’m giving myself points for creativity!
I have been eating and adoring tacos for forever.
When I was a kid, our closest Taco Bell was two towns away, and every so often, I’d convince Nana to drive over so I could get my usual – three soft tacos supreme. A few years later, a local gas station opened an in-store mini Taco Bell, and I was in taco heaven every time Nana needed gas.
When I got older, and more comfortable in the kitchen, I finally learned how to make my own; even though I ate them solo, I always made enough ground beef for two nights’ worth.
I was not such a fan of avocado as a kid (I’m sure that’s terribly shocking) – it took Mr. Crumby coming into my life for me to discover how delicious the versatile fruit can be.
He also introduced me to queso frito – Dominican fried cheese. Ooohhhhhh my goodness, folks. If you take nothing away from this recipe, at least try the fried cheese. It is absolutely to die for, and I’m guilty of nibbling on it while cooking to the point that I’m not even hungry for dinner.
Unless it’s this stuff.
This recipe, though…it’s a perfect dish for any summer fiesta you might be throwing, be it a large shindig or taco night for one.
Sometimes, those crazy experiments end up in fun, flavorful dishes like this one!
More shrimp recipes to try!
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Mexican Shrimp Cocktail Taco Boats
- ½ pound medium shrimp peeled/de-veined & cleaned
- 8 jumbo shrimp unpeeled & cleaned
- 1 can green chilis
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- ½ lime juiced
- 3 tablespoons cilantro minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 package soft taco boats
- 2 cups lettuce shredded
- 2 medium tomatoes sliced 1/4-inch thick
- 1 large ripe avocado
- 12 ounces frying cheese ("queso de freir") sliced 1/3-inch thick
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons taco sauce
- Combine chiles, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, spices, and salt in a large bowl with both kinds of shrimp. Toss to coat, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to marinate.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Set taco boats on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until they begin to crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.
- In a large saute pan set over medium heat, saute large shrimp and 2 Tablespoons of reserved marinade for 3-4 minutes until they turn pink, then add medium shrimp and remaining marinade. Cover and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so, until shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat but keep covered.
- Portion shredded lettuce and medium shrimp into each taco boat. Prep tomatoes and avocado slices, and have them ready to layer.
- In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add 2-3 slices of queso at a time, frying each side until it’s golden brown, about 2-3 minutes total. (Don’t add too many slices at once – it will spread the heat too much, and your slices will need to fry longer and absorb the oil flavor.) Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to dry.
- After your cheese slices cool a bit (no more than a couple minutes), layer your caprese on top of the lettuce and shrimp – tomato slice, queso, avocado slice, then jumbo shrimp. Drizzle with taco sauce (and more lime juice if you’d like), garnish with a spring of cilantro, serve and enjoy!