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Shrimp Tacos with Melon-Pineapple Salsa

Serve this colorful dish in the summertime, when cantaloupe is at the height of its season. If you can’t find cantaloupe in the market, substitute Persian, Sharlyn or Crenshaw melon. Any color bell pepper—red, green, gold, orange—will work in the salsa. 

Ingredients:

For the salsa: 

  • 1/2 small cantaloupe, about 1 1/4 lb., peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1/2 small pineapple, about 1 lb., peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped 
  • 1 small cucumber, about 6 oz., peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice 
  • 1/2 jalapeño chili, seeded and finely chopped  
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro  
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lime juice 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 
  •   

For the tacos: 

  • 24 medium shrimp, about 1 lb. total, peeled and deveined  
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder 
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced 
  • 4 corn tortillas, each 6 inches in diameter 

Directions:

To make the salsa, in a large bowl, combine the cantaloupe, pineapple, onion, bell pepper, cucumber, jalapeño and cilantro. Add the lime juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the tacos, prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack. Or, preheat a broiler. Thread the shrimp on long metal skewers.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat, let cool slightly, and stir in the chili powder and garlic. Brush the shrimp with some of the butter mixture.

For a grill: Using tongs, place the shrimp over the hottest part of the fire or directly over the heat elements and grill until bright pink, about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp over and grill until bright pink on the other side, about 2 minutes more. The shrimp should be firm to the touch at the thickest part. Transfer to a plate. Lightly brush the tortillas with the remaining butter mixture and place over the hottest part of the grill. Grill until they start to puff up, about 1 minute. Using tongs, turn the tortillas over and grill until puffed on the other side, about 1 minute more.

For a broiler: Arrange the shrimp in a single layer on a baking sheet and place in the broiler at least 6 inches from the heat source. Broil until they are bright pink, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, turn the shrimp over and broil until bright pink on the other side, about 2 minutes more. The shrimp should be firm to the touch at the thickest part. Transfer to a plate. Lightly brush the tortillas with the remaining butter mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet and broil until they start to puff up, about 1 minute. Using tongs, turn the tortillas over and broil until puffed on the other side, about 1 minute more.

Place 1 tortilla on each plate. Arrange 6 shrimp in the center of each tortilla and top with a spoonful of the salsa. Serve immediately, passing the remaining salsa at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).