These protein-packed, savory fajitas are almost too good to be so healthy
There are a few things – culinary trigger words, if you will – that automatically make me concede control of the kitchen to my husband. “Fajitas” is one.
Andy is unequaled when it comes to this Tex-Mex treat. Vegetables, chicken, beef, even venison, Andy has such a deft hand at building layers of Latin flavors that when he grabs the spatula and sets to sautéing, I accept my sous chef role and humbly step the prep side. (Honestly, we’ve had friends inform us that they would eat our kitchen table if we seasoned it correctly.)
But here’s the challenge: When I’m relegated to the sidelines, my personality can go one of two ways. I either become the human equivalent of our overly enthusiastic Labrador retriever make an underfoot nuisance of myself from my exuberance about helping; or, in my well-intended efforts to not eat every piece of produce that crosses the cutting board, I end up so hangry that by the time the meal’s cooked I’m ready to eat my own fist.
Tuesday had been a long one at the paying gig, and it was quite clear I was leaning toward option two.
So that evening, when Andy suggested making fajitas with wild-caught, gulf shrimp, I compromised. I turned over control of the kitchen to him and headed out to do evening chores. I feed the animals, he feeds me … fair trade if you ask me.
That was the right call.
The perfectly sautéed shrimp ended up buttery, sweet and erupting with aromatic flavors, while the bell pepper, onions and tomato reduction were the perfect tender compliment to the crustaceans. (As an aside, I really kind of love that word.)
We topped the cooked goods with fresh, organic Romaine lettuce, home-grown tomatoes, Andy’s homemade guacamole and freshly grated cheddar cheese from our partners and friends at Tillamook Dairy Co-op, then wrapped the whole shebang in a fresh – albeit burrito sized – flour tortilla.
This is a meal you would be justified in not finishing due to its size alone. But it’s also one that is so delicious you will want to fight through to the end anyway. In an epic battle of Regan vs. fajitas, I will find a way to win.
And while they taste absolutely fantastic, it doesn’t hurt that this delicacy is also a nutrition-packed, weeknight meal that can be ready to go, start to finish, in about 30 minutes. Oh, and for the record, for those watching carbs or unable to partake of tortillas, just triple-down on the lettuce and make it a salad.
Quick, healthy and flat-out decadent. A weeknight meal doesn’t get much better than that.
Andy’s shrimp fajitas
Makes four massive servings
Cook’s note: If shrimp isn’t your thing, this same recipe can be adapted to really any type of protein. We’ve loved it with chicken, steak and wild-harvested venison, as well as in a vegetarian version. If vegan or vegetarian is your flow, double down on the peppers and onions, and consider boosting the bite with summer squash, carrots, broccoli and/or portobello mushrooms. Olé!
1-2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 pound wild-caught Gulf shrimp (60-70 count)
3 cloves garlic
1 medium bell pepper
1 medium onion
½ tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1, 14.5-ounce organic petite diced tomatoes, with juice
½ teaspoon lime juice
Organic Romaine lettuce, shredded
Organic tomatoes, diced
1 cup Tillamook medium cheddar cheese
Burrito-sized flour tortillas
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm coconut oil until shimmering.
While oil is heating, mince garlic and finely slice bell peppers and onion.
Pop peppers, onion and garlic, seasoned salt, onion powder, garlic powder and 2 to 3 tablespoons cilantro into the skillet and saute until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, and simmer until juice reduces by about half and starts to thicken.
Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove the onions and peppers to a bowl. Toss in shrimp and simmer until cooked through, 3 to 7 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp and internal temperature. (The little guys go much faster than the monster prawns.)
Add back the peppers, give it a big stir to incorporate and reheat to desired degree of sizzle. We like ours screaming hot.
Serve on warmed tortillas and garnish with guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, reserved cilantro and freshly grated Tillamook cheddar cheese, as desired.
Try not to eat the entire skillet’s worth in one sitting. Or do, your call.