Mezcal Shrimp Tacos with Guac Crema

This is not your standard taco night. There is smoke and fire throughout these tacos. Mezcal, fire-roasted tomatoes, pimenton and chipotle in adobo bring the smoky heat to counter a cool crema and juicy shrimp.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Guac Crema:

1 small green chili pepper, Serrano or small jalapeno

1 ripe Haas avocado 

1 lime 

1/4 small red or white onion 

1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream 

A pinch of salt 


1/2 small red or white onion

1 can (14 ounces) fire-roasted diced tomatoes 

32 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off 

6 cloves garlic 


2 tablespoons butter 

1 scant teaspoon cumin seed, measure in your palm 

1 teaspoon (1/3 palm full) pimenton or paprika

2 chipotle in adobo, plus a couple spoonfuls sauce 

About 1/4 cup mezcal 

A drizzle of honey, about a teaspoon 

Salt and pepper

1 lime

Twelve 6-inch corn tortillas 

To Serve:

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 lime, wedged

Cilantro leaves

Sliced pickled jalapenos, mild or hot

Thinly sliced small radishes

Crumbled cotija or queso fresco

Sliced scallions 


  1. Gather your ingredients.
  2. For the crema: Seed and chop green chili. Halve and pit avocado. To a food processor or high power blender, add the juice of 1 lime, chili, scoop in the avocado, onion and crema or sour cream and process into a smooth sauce. Season with salt to taste.
  3. For the tacos: Finely chop onion. Place tomatoes in a strainer to drain. Pat shrimp dry. Peel garlic and thinly slice, grate or chop garlic.
  4. Heat a large cast-iron or wide, shallow skillet over medium-high heat with EVOO, 2 turns of the pan. Melt butter into oil and when it foams add onion, garlic, cumin, paprika and chipotle in adobo. Swirl and toss a minute. Add tomatoes, cook a minute or 2 more, then add mezcal and a drizzle of honey -- be mindful of a flare up. Swirl a minute more. Add the shrimp to the sauce, season with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Add juice of lime, remove from heat.
  5. Char tortillas in a hot stainless pan over high heat or over open flame on gas burners. Blister the tortillas 20 to 30 seconds and stack in a cloth napkin or towel to keep warm.
  6. Serve shrimp in serving bowl with tortillas, crema, lettuce, lime wedges and toppings alongside.
  7. To build tacos: Slather or squirt sauce on tortilla, top with lettuce, shrimp -- squirt on more lime juice of you like, cilantro, jalapenos, radishes, cheese and scallions.