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It’s the time of year when cooking can fall into a somewhat doldrum state.  On one hand, we have the best produce of any season…

…and on the other, it’s too hot to turn on the stove. (…and there are so many baked goodies popping up all over…really??) The attraction of summer holiday cook-outs has waned and you’ve been through your best grilling tricks. Twice.

Think about throwing together some sassy shrimp tacos, skipping the typical pico de gallo, mango salsa, or jarred salsas to make a little fresh Greek tomato salsa– or sáltsa as they say in Greek– making great use of hot vine-ripe tomatoes, (I like heirloom, but any will do.) briny feta, fragrant and sweet green onions, and the fresh oregano from your garden. If you don’t want to grill the shrimp, buy the already-cooked variety or use another cooking method (see Cook’s Notes below).

If the tacos aren’t quite enough for dinner, make my simple summer salad, too.  (recipe included)

So forget the fajitas and the pitas this week and try this:

GREEK STYLE SHRIMP TACOS AND SALSA

serves 4

Buy shrimp deveined with shells on.  If you’re using pre-cooked shrimp, buy deveined and shelled. Make sure you still take the time to toss the pre-cooked shrimp in oil, salt, and pepper to season them before adding to the tortillas.

  • Salsa (recipe below)
  • 3/4 pound medium thawed shrimp, de-veined, shells on (follow package directions for thawing if using frozen shrimp)
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each: Kosher salt and pepper
  • 8 small corn or flour tortillas

Make salsa and set aside. (Scroll down for recipe.)

Warm tortillas: Preheat oven to 350 degrees if you are warming tortillas there. Wrap in aluminum foil and heat for about 15 minutes or until very warm. You can also grill them if you like or heat them one at a time on stove top griddle or in a pan.

Grill the shrimp: Meanwhile, heat grill to medium. Toss together the shrimp with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Thread shrimp on wooden skewers or place on a flat grill pan on the grill and let cook, turning after about 2 minutes.  Cook on the other side 1-2 minutes or until the shrimp has changed color from gray to pink. Don’t overcook. Let cool briefly and remove shells.

Make the tacos and serve: Place two warm tortillas on each plate, add a couple of shelled shrimp, and top with a spoonful of salsa. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

SALSA:   

  • 1 large heirloom or other tomato, cored diced
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 1 1/2 ounces chopped or diced, not crumbled, feta (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
  • Pinch crushed red pepper, optional

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients gently.  If using dried oregano, let salsa sit a few extra minutes before serving.

COOK’S NOTES:  No grill?  Cook shrimp in oven–unpeeled, deveined, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, roasted at 425 degrees F for 7-8 minutes until just opaque and pink–peel afterward.  You can also sauté them in a skillet — peeled and deveined, in oil or butter, salted and peppered, tossing often over medium heat for about 5 minutes total.

Link for printed recipes for both tacos and salad is below the salad recipe.

CUCUMBER-RADISH SALAD WITH FENNEL AND AVOCADO

serves 4

Need more?  Add these easy additions:  sliced marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, or cooked chopped green beans or asparagus.

  • 1 English cucumber, peel on, diced or sliced thinly
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
  • 4 large red radishes, trimmed and sliced very thinly
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored, and sliced thinly
  • 3 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 lemon (Juice half, slice the remainder)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Pinch Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

In a medium bowl, gently mix together the first five ingredients–cucumber – green onions.  Squeeze 1/2 lemon over all, toss briefly. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and peppers. Taste and adjust seasonings. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve at room temperature.

{printable recipes for Greek style shrimp tacos and cucumber-radish salad}

Sing a new summer song,

Alyce