Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Tequila Tailgating Tasty Good Time

Editor's Note: When I asked my buddy Heather to contribute a foodie post for NASCAR-ista, she was only too happy to oblige. After all, she's the creator of a fabulous blog called The Breakup Cookbook "Sauteing Your Way Back to Sanity." Be sure to check out her site and whether you're tailgating at the track or hosting an UnValentine's Day/Daytona 500 party, these yummy shrimp will strike just the right note!

By Heather Q.

Right around January 1st I kept seeing all these Facebook posts already proclaiming 2010 the best year in the history of years (which is good news if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

I was inclined to believe it, mostly because 2009 was the worst year in the history of years. But the fact that the Daytona 500 falls on Valentine's Day leaves me dubious ... and I don't even have a boyfriend right now. (It ended in that blasted 2009.)

But in the spirit of taking lemons and making lemonade, I bring you a tailgating recipe to help make this Valentine's Day at the track, if not the most romantic, then one of the tastiest. And in honor of Daytona, Fla., I'm focusing on seafood. Specifically, a Tequila Shrimp that will turn more heads than Danica ever did.

This comes courtesy of my friends at - their recipes are always 5-star. I've loved this one - as have those whom I've let share.

Tequila Shrimp
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
40 medium uncooked shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, deveined, and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup tequila
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, plus extra limes for serving
Pico de Gallo, for serving (optional)
Guacamole, for serving (optional)

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add onion and garlic, season with salt, and cook until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add shrimp and cook until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat, add tequila, and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Return the pan to heat. (If you want, carefully tilt the pan to ignite tequila.) Simmer until the alcohol smell has cooked off and shrimp are fully cooked, about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat, stir in lime juice, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste, adjust seasoning as necessary, and serve with extra lime wedges, Pico de Gallo, and Guacamole.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can take your fabulous Tequila Shrimp and add it to Jack Cheese and flour tortillas to make Quesadillas.

9 ounces grated Monterey Jack cheese (about 4 cups)
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
Tequila Shrimp

Scatter 1/2 cup of the cheese evenly over 1 tortilla. Using a slotted spoon, remove 1/4 of the Tequila Shrimp from their sauce, arrange on the tortilla, and drizzle with shrimp sauce to your liking. Scatter with another 1/2 cup of the cheese and top with a second tortilla. Repeat to make 4 quesadillas.

Heat a seasoned cast iron skillet or a large frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 quesadilla and cook until the cheese melts and the bottom tortilla has a few golden brown spots, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom tortilla has a few golden brown spots. Repeat for remaining quesadillas. Slice into quarters and serve. Bask in glory.

Photo courtesy of

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