FRIDAY FISH: Air Fryer Shrimp Louis Tacos

For a really special lunch occasion in Colorado, locals head to one of the Broadmoor Hotel restaurants. Not only do we wine and dine, sometimes we even dress up to do it — yes, even in Colorado.

While there are several tasty spots from which to choose, if it’s a women’s birthday celebration, La Taverne (we call it “The Taverne”) is our choice of watering hole. Occasionally Dave and I choose it for an anniversary celebration, too. See above where I’m even in a dress for our 2013 lunch.

For many of us, there’s little question about what’s on order; we ask for a glass of house Chardonnay (Broadmoor has lovely house wines) and a SHRIMP LOUIS SALAD. (Pronounced LOO-ee no matter how it’s spelled.) Occasionally they turn the tables on us and offer a CRAB LOUIS SALAD, but never mind, we choose that, too and have no complaint. Recently it’s become more of an appetizer-sized portion, but tradition is tradition, so SHRIMP LOUIS it is.

Here’s my traditional Shrimp Louis I packed up to deliver to a friend.

Until recently I never thought about making a SHRIMP LOUIS at home. I mean, it’s a Broadmoor thing, right? But over Covid-Christmas, when we weren’t visiting restaurants — still aren’t — our annual friends’ Christmas lunch (complete with SHRIMP LOUIS) didn’t happen. Instead, I did make one in our kitchen and even sent a salad across the street to one of our longtime SHRIMP LOUIS lovers. I had somehow saved a to-go sauce container just in case I ever needed one and so there it was, SHRIMP LOUIS on a platter! I don’t think we cared the platter was Chinet.

As FRIDAY FISH time rolled around—we’d call that Lent at our house—I began making lists of possible posts and recipes. Some might still be on tap, but Shrimp and Cauliflower Chowder and an Air Fryer Fish and Chips were on the short list. Somewhere in there, Shrimp Louis Tacos snuck in. And maybe using the air fryer for shrimp might be fun? (If not, check the info below for an oven version.) So that’s it, short and sweet. Spice them up (add sliced jalapeño?); tone them down (less lime/lemon?); add more vegetables (green beans? asparagus?); consider cheese (goat?) or even crab instead of shrimp. Whatever you do, try this:

FRIDAY FISH: Air Fryer Shrimp Louis Tacos

Shrimp (or Crab) Louis is a famous old school California salad. Here I transform it into tacos for FRIDAY FISH. While this dish is fast enough as it is, you could make it even faster/easier by buying cooked shrimp,  purchased guacamole, and Salsa Ranch or old school Thousand Island dressing you can tart-up at home.  Fresh crab could sit in for the shrimp any day and you’d have CRAB LOUIS TACOS! Fresh crab could sit in for the shrimp any day and you’d have CRAB LOUIS TACOS. I used a 6-quart air fryer and my very large shrimp took 3 minutes to cook after 10 minutes of preheating. A different fryer or smaller/larger shrimp could change the cooking time.
Makes 10 (5-6)inch tacos

Equipment

  • Air Fryer

Ingredients

FOR THE SHRIMP LOUIS SAUCE:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce-Spicy a problem? Start with ¼ teaspoon and add more to taste.
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • Pinch each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

FOR THE SHRIMP:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1- pound 16 ounces large raw, tailed, shelled and deveined shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH: dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, and fresh ground black pepper (plus extra pepper after the shrimp is cooked)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt- plus extra salt after the shrimp is cooked
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice- added after shrimp is cooked

FOR THE TACOS:

  • 10 5-6 inch corn tortillas– heated or grilled
  • 1 ½ cups finely shredded iceberg or Romaine lettuce
  • 2 medium ripe tomatoes–cut into large dice
  • ½ English cucumber– very thinly sliced
  • 5 hard-cooked eggs– peeled and cut lengthwise into ¼’s
  • 2 ripe large avocados, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 5 baby carrots sliced thinly lengthwise
  • 3-4 scallions– sliced at an angle, peeled and cut into large dice
  • Very-thinly sliced red onions or radishes–optional
  • 2 lemons or limes– cut into wedges for serving
  • Cooked shrimp
  • Shrimp Louis sauce
  • Tabasco (pass at table)

Instructions

  • MAKE THE SAUCE: Whisk all of the ingredients together and taste/adjust seasonings. Store in fridge until needed. (Can be made a day ahead and stored well-covered in the fridge.)
  • AIR FRY THE SHRIMP: Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Spray fryer pan with cooking spray. Meanwhile, stir together all of the shrimp ingredients except the lemon juice until shrimp are evenly coated. Using tongs, add seasoned shrimp to the sprayed, hot air fryer pan in an even layer. Cook for 3 minutes or until shrimp are barely firm and just pink. If not done at 3 minutes, turn shrimp over and cook another minute, checking again. Remove shrimp to a bowl. Sprinkle with another pinch each salt and pepper and drizzle with the lemon juice; stir. (Can be made a day ahead and stored well-covered in the fridge.)
  • ASSEMBLE TACOS: To each tortilla, layer about 2 tablespoons lettuce, 2-3 pieces each of tomato and cucumber, two 1/8 pieces of cooked egg, 2 pieces of diced avocado, 2 cooked shrimp, a generous drizzle of Shrimp Louis Sauce, and a wedge of lemon or lime. Pass the Tabasco at the table for those who would like more heat. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (The vegetables and the eggs might be prepared a day ahead –with the exception of the avocado – and stored overnight well-covered in separate containers.)

Notes

Leftover sauce is good for vegetable dip or a sandwich spread, though I like it best as a shrimp dip, of course! Inspiration for sauce is from Epicurious.
Copyright Alyce Morgan, 2021. All rights reserved.

Want to air fry frozen shrimp? Here’s how.

NO AIR FRYER? Cook your shrimp in the oven:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.  Place shrimp on the sheet in single layer.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with spices, salt and peppers as in above recipe. Toss well.  Roast in oven for about 7 minutes or until barely firm and just pink.  Do not overcook. Remove from oven, season again lightly with salt, pepper, and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice; set aside until needed.

You can make frozen shrimp like this too, but halfway through the (longer) cooking time, remove the pan from the oven and carefully pour off the water that will have accumulated in the pan. Return to oven and cook until barely pink.

WINE: Nearly any California white would be tasty. Many might like a citrusy-leaning Sauv Blanc. I’d go with an unoaked Chardonnay or even a well-chilled rosé.

THINKING AHEAD TO ENTERTAINING: Use these for starters to get the party off the ground along with a great fruity not–too-sweet margarita. Buy the tiny street taco tortillas and perhaps even use smaller shrimp and more finely chopped vegetables. Everything but the avocado can be prepared ahead and folks can make their own SHRIMP LOUIS TACOS if you have everything ready-to-go on a large, flat platter or a wooden cutting board.

If you liked this, you might like my:

POST/RECIPE
POST/RECIPE

MORE INFO THAN YOU WANTED:

Crab Louie Salad Recipe/WHATSCOOKINGAMERICA

Shrimp or Crab Louis Recipe/FOOD.COM

Louie, Louie: A Distinguished Comeback for a Classic Dish/SEATTLETIMES/Rebekah Denn 

Dorie Greenspan’s Shrimp and Tomato-Pineapple Salsa Tacos

Epicurious 49 Tacos to Make Every Day Taco Day/EPICURIOUS

7 Mistakes You’re Probably Making with Your Air Fryer/COOKING LIGHT

LIFE GOES ON:

QUICK DESSERT for a night when dinner is light:

As a nearly lifelong Marion Cunningham fan, I often return to one of her books when I need something, but don’t know exactly what it is. Leafing through a dessert section, for instance, I’ll see exactly what I need to make that day. One day last week, that was Seattle Crisp, her famous apple dessert that is devoid of the typical cinnamon, brown sugar, oats, walnuts, lemon, and so on. Eggs, butter, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and apples are about all that’s in it and about all that’s needed. (The recipe in the link is for a peach version. For apple, simply substitute apples and omit the cinnamon–which is a little unusual, but how the recipe goes.) If you have apples and need a quick homey dessert — the kind Marion is famous for — try it! It was a tad sweet for me despite the fact that I didn’t add the extra 1/4 cup of granulated sugar, so next time I’ll maybe cut it back a tad more. You could add ice cream, but it doesn’t need it. Seattle Crisp is from Marion’s excellent LEARNING TO COOK WITH MARION CUNNINGHAM; Knopf, 1999.

There’s a warm-up today out here near the mountains. It’s a sneak peak of spring, but I’m guessing it won’t last long. Time to run and get the car washed.

Cook some shrimp and enjoy your kitchen,

Alyce (I’ll have my second vaccine by the time you cook with me again!)

I have a 6-quart Gourmia Air Fryer — just right for two people. Easy clean up, too. Can’t find a link for it, but here’s one for the 5-qt.

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