Believe it or not, this is one of my middle son’s favorite dinners. It might seem unusual for a “kid-friendly” dinner, but then again, my middle son is definitely unique. Tacos are always a favorite at our house, but the two ingredients that make this special for him are the shrimps and radishes.
He has always had a fondness for shrimp, probably because when I first gave it to him I called it “shrrraaaaamp” (imagine Bubba from “Forrest Gump” saying it and you’ll know what I mean). I guess a little bit of silliness was all he needed, because “shraaaamps” are totally a favorite now, no matter how they are prepared.
The story of how his love of radishes began is a little longer. Last fall he got hooked on old episodes of “Fraggle Rock” on DVD. If you weren’t a child of the ’80s like me, you might not know what the heck I’m talking about. Basically, Fraggle Rock is a children’s show created by Jim Henson that centers around the lives of five Fraggles and all of their adventures. It is a really sweet show that delves into topics like friendship, sharing, and feelings. It was my favorite show when I was almost 5 years old, which is how old my middle son is now. I thought he might like it, so I started showing him the old episodes on DVDs my mom had given me for Christmas one year. He totally loved it–the singing, the characters, everything. He even asked Santa for a Red Fraggle doll for Christmas this year, and she has been his favorite companion ever since.
So what does this have to do with radishes? They are Fraggles favorite food of course. I remember when I was little I begged my mom to buy some radishes, because I figured they must be the most wonderful food in the world if Fraggles liked them. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be crunchy, spicy vegetables! My son was so excited when he saw the radishes in the grocery store after he had gotten hooked on Fraggle Rock. “Look Mommy! Radishes! Just like on Fraggle Rock!” I smiled, bought them, and figured I’d eat them when he realized what they were and didn’t want them. But, imagine my surprise again when the kid ate the whole bunch. He loved them. Maybe I shouldn’t have been too surprised–after all this is the kid who once ate an entire stalk of raw broccoli, who eats tomatoes like they are apples, and begs me for the leftover fennel tops when I make this salad.
Even if you don’t have a “shraaamp” and Fraggle loving little one at home, these tacos are really something special. They are really quick to make which is perfect for a weeknight meal. The radish-tomato salsa is refreshing and unusual–slightly spicy, good amount of crunch, and a perfect partner for the shrimp. So put on your favorite music, dance your cares away, and make these for dinner.
Shrimp Tacos (adapted from rickbayless.com)
- 1 large ripe tomato, diced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half)
- 5 radishes, cut into matchsticks
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled & deveined (cut them into chunks if they are really large, otherwise leave them whole)
- 1 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- chopped romaine lettuce
- soft flour tortillas (white or whole wheat, both are good)
- sour cream (or spicy yogurt sauce if you prefer)
- hot sauce (optional)
- Combine the tomato, radishes, shallot, cilantro, lime juice & olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
- Combine the shrimp, chili powder, cumin & allspice in a medium bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet. When the oil is almost smoking add the shrimp and cook until opaque (about 5 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Serve the shrimps with the tomato-radish salsa, chopped romaine, tortillas, sour cream & hot sauce.
Time: 30 minutes