We have all been to the family friendly, Tex-Mex cantinas, where things like chimichangas, frozen margaritas, and enchiladas reign supreme….we have all certainly had our heads turn when a big, sizzling plate of fajitas comes past us wafting its mouthwatering aroma from the a hot skillet carried skillfully by the server. I always figured fajitas like other things were an American invention, when in fact I have come to realize they are a take on a authentic recipe called alambre which actually has origins in Arab cuisine. Basically like fajitas, it is grilled protein, seasoned, with onions and bell peppers, frequently served with avocados. For my take on this authentic dish popular in Mexico City, I used shrimp, often times a traditional version with seafood will also feature squid, octopus, or other seafood…I stuck to wild caught pink shrimp, but beef or chicken would work as well. This dish was so popular with my family that I would consider serving it to guests or even as a passed appetizer using small tortillas. Its super easy and quick, with the whole process from start to finish taking about 30 minutes. This can easily become a weeknight staple at our house changing out the protein as one sees fit. I do like to find the origins of dishes that have gone through the process of becoming Americanized, if you do your research and respect the cultures that inspire your appetite you get a full appreciation of where the food you love comes from and the people and process of making those recipes. Food is a great catalyst for expanding your diversity.
Serves 3 to 4.
You will need:
1 lb. Medium shrimp, shelled, de-veined, tails removed.
1/4 of a red onion sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic minced.
1 sweet red or green bell pepper, sliced.
2 tsp. tomato paste
.5 tsp each: cumin, Oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup cheese of choice, I used feta, but queso fresco is a great choice, mozzarella, or jack cheese would all be delicious.
6-8 taco sized tortillas I used the the white corn and wheat variety by La Tortilla Factory that I received in my May Degustabox
half of a lime cut into wedges
a handful of chopped cilantro for garnish.
In a large skillet heat oil over high heat till shimmering, add onions, garlic and spices. Toss around in the pan till onion become soft, about three minutes. Add tomato paste, stir to coat onion, garlic, and spices. Add bell pepper, toss, for about a minute. Add shrimp, making sure to coat the shrimp in the spices. Cook three minutes, remove from heat. Heat broiler, top shrimp and peppers with cheese of choice, place under broiler till cheese melts and brown a bit, about two minutes. Remove skillet from broiler and squeeze on lime and top with chopped cilantro. Serve with warmed tortillas, you can also serve this over rice with black beans in a bowl topped with salsa verde, sour cream, or guacamole!
Happy cooking! Until next time…..
P.s. if you end up making any of my recipes, please post a pic on instagram with the #lollipopsicle, I would love to see what y’all are cooking up! Thanks for reading!