If you think seafood and cheese don’t mix, these incredible shrimp tacos will change your mind.
Tacos gobernador, or “governor’s tacos,” are a modern Mexican classic. A blend of shrimp and melty cheese is tucked inside tortillas that then are folded and cooked like a quesadilla.
The tacos are said to have originated in the coastal state of Sinaloa, supposedly in honor of the governor in the late 1980s. The filling can be as simple as sautéed chopped shrimp with garlic, fresh cheese and green peppers. But in this recipe from our book “Cook What You Have,” which draws on pantry staples to assemble easy, weeknight meals, we boost their flavor with half a cup of fresh cilantro and pickled jalapeños.
Shredded mozzarella offers the melty consistency we were looking for, as well as a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the subtle natural sweetness of the shrimp. The recipe calls for medium shrimp, but since they’re chopped, you can use large or extra-large — whatever is most convenient.
If you prefer corn tortillas over flour, swap them in if you like, though you’ll need to heat them before adding the filling so they don’t break when folded. Just pop them in the hot skillet for a few seconds per side until pliable.
Start to finish: 40 minutes Servings: 4
1 pound medium (41 to 50 per pound) shrimp, peeled, deveined (tails removed), cut into ¾-inch pieces and patted dry (see headnote) Kosher salt and ground black pepper 3 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided 1 small white OR yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced 1 green bell pepper OR poblano chili, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups) 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more to serve 3 tablespoons pickled jalapeños, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon brine Eight 6-inch flour OR corn tortillas (see headnote)
Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper; set aside. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the onion, bell pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and shrimp, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp turn opaque, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; wipe out and reserve the skillet. Stir in the cheese, cilantro and pickled jalapeños and their brine into the shrimp mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Divide the filling evenly among the tortillas (about 1/2 cup each) and spread it to cover half of each tortilla. Fold the unfilled sides over and press.
In the same skillet over medium-high, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add 4 of the tacos and cook until golden brown on the bottoms, about 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, flip the tacos and cook, adjusting the heat as needed, until browned on the second sides, another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter.
Cook the remaining tacos in the same way using the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Serve sprinkled with additional cilantro.
Optional garnish: Lime wedges OR guacamole OR sour cream OR a combination
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more recipes, go to Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street at 177milkstreet.com/ap
Christopher Kimball, The Associated Press