Achiote Shrimp Nachos

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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16 medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied

2 tablespoons achiote paste

1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Canola oil, for deep-frying

16 fresh 3-inch whole corn tortillas

2 cups Black Bean Puree, recipe follows

2 1/2 cups Queso, recipe follows

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

2 cups pico de gallo

3 tablespoons sliced pickled Fresno chiles or other pickled chiles

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Black Bean Puree:

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

1 jalapeno, roughly chopped (leave the seeds in)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Two 15 1/2-ounce cans black beans, drained

1 1/2 cups chicken stock

1 cup Mexican crema

Kosher salt


1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 cups shredded sharp Cheddar

4 cups shredded jalapeno Jack cheese


  1. Place the shrimp in a large bowl and toss with the achiote paste and salt. Marinate the shrimp for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil to 350 degrees F in a tabletop deep-fryer or in a Dutch oven with a deep-fry thermometer attached. Place a wire rack over a sheet pan for draining. Fry the tortillas in small batches until crisped and golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Place on the rack to drain.
  3. While the tortillas fry, heat 3 tablespoons canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook, turning once, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Spoon the Black Bean Puree over the bottom of a large oval platter. Arrange the fried tortillas over the top. Spoon the Queso generously all over. Top with the shrimp. Sprinkle with avocado, pico de gallo and pickled chiles. Garnish with cilantro.

Black Bean Puree:

Yield: about 4 cups.
  1. Heat a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, onions, jalapeno, coriander and cumin. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the beans. Add the stock, crema and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. 


Yield: 6 cups.
  1. Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan set over medium heat. Stir in the flour until combined. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Switch to a whisk and slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Whisk in the salt. Switch back to a spoon and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Cheddar and Jack cheeses. Turn the heat off and allow the cheese to melt. Stir until smooth.