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On the Menu: Tantalizing Textures

NOLA Cantina’s chef Octavio Ycaza shares his Winter Shrimp Tacos

Photos by JEFFERY JOHNSTON

 

Winter Shrimp Tacos
20 Gulf shrimp (21-25)
10 Mawi corn tortillas (6 inches)
8 ounces Spicy Sweet Potato Purée* (recipe below)
8 ounces Mirliton & Coconut Slaw* (recipe below)
8 ounces corn starch (for dredging shrimp)

Peel and devein shrimp, set aside and refrigerate. Make the purée and the slaw.

Assemble tortillas, putting two together and toasting them on both sides. (This will give you a crunchy outside with a warm and chewy center.)

Dredge shrimp in cornstarch, shake off excess and fry until golden and crispy. Let excess oil drain off and salt to taste.

Put 2 ounces of each purée and slaw on the taco. Place shrimp on top of the purée.

Serves 5

 

Spicy Sweet Potato Purée
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
1 ½ ounces habanero peppers
12 ounces passion fruit juice
2 ounces granulated sugar
1 ounce vegetable oil

Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, place face down on a baking sheet and bake at 500 degrees until flesh is fork tender. Scoop out all flesh, weigh and set it aside. Chop up the habanero and place in a small sauce pot along with sugar, oil and passion fruit juice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until you have 6 ounces of juice. Then, blend liquid mixture until smooth. Next, in a food processor purée the sweet potatoes and, when smooth, add the habanero glaze. Let it run until an ultra-smooth texture develops.

 

Mirliton & Coconut Slaw
1 pound mirliton, sliced as thinly as possible on a mandolin
8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
4 ounces red onions, feathered as thinly as possible
1 ounce salt (to cure the mirliton)
¼ ounce mint, chiffonaded

Cut mirliton in half, remove seed and slice lengthwise. Add salt to mirliton, rub together well, let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse mirlitons under running water (using a strainer as a cover). Combine all ingredients.

 

NOLA Cantina
437 Esplanade Ave., 266-2848


 

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