Toast the pepitas in a medium dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
Heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add the tortilla strips and fry, turning as needed, until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel¿lined plate; season with salt and pepper. Let cool, then break each strip in half.
Make the dressing: Combine the crema, Cotija cheese, 1/4 cup cilantro, 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, the lime juice and garlic in a food processor; pulse until smooth, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if needed to loosen. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the dressing to a large bowl; add the romaine, pickled jalapenos, pepitas, shrimp, the remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and half of the tortilla strips. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Top each serving of salad with the remaining tortilla strips and more cheese.
Photograph by Ryan Dausch
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