Cooking Our Favorite Restaurant Dishes at Home

We love our mozzarepas, sausage and peppers and grilled corn, but Gothamist's street fair snacks have hit a new high.

Gothamist randomly met its match at a non-descript taco stand on a recent Sunday afternoon street fair at 14th St., between 6th and 7th.

At this no frills taco stand, a man was braising pork shoulder in a huge vat of barely simmering, deep red liquid on the street for all to see. On his cutting board was a juicy pork shoulder being roughly sliced with a sharp knife. Out in front of him lay a pile of chopped onions and cilantro in Tupperware containers. Behind him a man was grilling corn tortillas. For two dollars, they’d put a taco together. A woman collecting the cash offered Gothamist a thick, red chili based salsa or a bright green tomatillo salsa for a final kick. Juicy, spicy, simple, fresh and spontaneous. Perfect.

Gothamist wasn’t in the mood to braise pork for three hours on a hot summer night, so we opted to make a fresh heirloom tomato salad as a topping for toasted garlic shrimp tacos, finished with a peppery bite of arugula.

Gothamist Recipe

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Garlic Shrimp Tacos
Fresh tomato salsa, arugula

Make as much of the tomato salsa as you’d like – it's even better the next day.

Ingredient Shopping List
Recipe serves two people. Assumes 3-4 tacos apiece, as we recommend smaller-sized tortillas. Gothamist is a total slob and ate 4 for lunch without batting an eye.

1 lb large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 large cloves garlic
1 bunch mint
1 lime
1 lemon
1 bunch chives (white or red onion instead is great)
2 handfuls or 1 bag washed arugula
3-4 large heirloom or vine ripened tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper
1 package small corn tortillas (flour OK)

Estimated cost of ingredients: $18-20 at Fairway


Make the Salsa

Chop the tomatoes into small bite sized pieces. If you want to be fancy, remove the seeds and inner core. Toss into a bowl. Add any leftover juices from the cutting board. Chop chives or onions into a very small dice (about two tablespoons)into a bowl. Finely chop about 1 teaspoon of jalapeno pepper (1/4 of a pepper)and add to bowl. Leave in seeds and inner white membrane if you like it spicy, otherwise remove them. Squeeze 1/2 of a lime and 1/2 of a lemon into bowl and add a 1 sec glug of olive oil to bowl. Add about 1 tablespoon of finely chopped mint. Season everything with salt and pepper. Mix well and taste. Need more onion? Mint? Salt? Adjust to taste.

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This simple salsa is best covered and refrigerated for at least a half hour or up to 24 hours to let flavors marinate. Gothamist enjoys this right after we make it as well – sometimes it’s hard to wait.

Make the Shrimp

Peel and finely chop 3 garlic cloves. Finely chop about 1 tablespoon mint. Take out your peeled and de-veined shrimp (also remove tails at this point or you’ll need to do it later, either way OK) and place them on paper towels. Pat both sides until as dry as possible. This is important in order to obtain slightly browned shrimp that adds lots of flavor to the dish. Season both side of shrimp with salt and pepper.

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Place one glug of olive oil in a sturdy pan on medium high heat. Wait until the olive oil is very hot, to the point that it just barely begins to smoke. Add all of the garlic and immediately after add the shrimp carefully to the pan to avoid splatter. Add the mint right on top of the shrimp. The key here is not to flip the shrimp for about 3 minutes. Flip the shrimp and squeeze lemon on them and turn off the heat. The shrimp is almost done - the heat in pan will continue to cook them. Set aside onto a cutting board after 1 minute or so, along with all of the garlic and mint and some of the olive oil.

After cooling for a minute, chop your shrimp into bite size pieces and reserve.

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Toast the Tortillas

It’s best to have all ingredients out and ready for your tacos before toasting the tortillas.

You need a dry pan (non-stick is good, but anything works) on medium high heat. Gothamist took the pan we used for the shrimp, waited until it was relatively cool, and wiped with paper towels for this task.

When hot, add two tortillas to the pan. Flip when just browned. Set aside and repeat as needed. Make a few extra just in case they break when forming.

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Finish the Dish

Carefully fold the tortillas into a taco shape – just barely bend them into shape or they will crack and split. Gothamist likes to fill them with one layer of arugula at bottom, heaping layer of shrimp, tomato salsa, followed by a couple leaves of arugula at top. This way, you get all flavors in one bite.

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