Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas
I was actually kind of shocked that “something spicy” won last week’s poll. I figured that something fried would win for sure given that it’s for the Super Bowl. Shows you what I know!
My requirements for this dish were pretty simple. I wanted something that I could eat with my hands, that was super-spicy, and that would be easy to make for a crowd.
I came up with these awesome spicy shrimp quesadillas!
I’m a huge fan of quesadillas, but I’m also kind of picky. I like mine to be super-crispy with lots of spices and flavors and enough cheese to hold the thing together. I do think it’s possible to over-cheese a quesadilla…
Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas
Yield: 4 quesadillas
1 pound cleaned shrimp
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Teaspoons hot paprika
2 Teaspoons cumin
1 Teaspoon cayenne (or adjust to your tastes)
1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 jalapeno chopped
1 lime, juice only
16 ounces cheese (I used a mix of cheddar and mozzarella.)
1/4 red onion, sliced (optional)
8 medium-large tortillas
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Guacamole (I used the cheater's guac from this recipe plus some fresh cilantro and red onion.)
1) Clean and de-vein shrimp.
2) Add cleaned shrimp to a bowl with spices, jalapenos, lime juice, and olive oil. Let marinade for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3) Add shrimp to a pan over medium-high heat and cook for 5-6 minutes until they are just cooked through.
4) Once the shrimp are cooked, give them a quick chop.
5) Lay tortillas out on a baking sheet. Add some cheese, chopped shrimp, onions, and a bit more cheese.
6) Top with another tortilla and bake for 8-10 minutes. Then flip each quesadilla carefully.
7) Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes until they are very crispy. Chop and serve with lots of toppings!
Prepping the Ingredients
You can definitely buy shrimp that are already cleaned for this dish. I have a mild obsession about buying shrimp in the shell. I just prefer to clean them myself. For some reason I think the shrimp is generally fresher with the shell on but I have ZERO evidence to support that belief.
If you are cleaning them yourself and aren’t familiar with how to do it, just peel the shell off the shrimp off with your fingers. It should kind of unwrap around the shrimp if you start with the little legs. Then, using a paring knife, gently slice a cut all the way down the back of the shrimp revealing their digestive vein. Wash that under cold water to get it clean and then toss your cleaned shrimp in a bowl.
The first time you do it, it might take some time, but you’ll get fast at it pretty quickly.
Once all your shrimp are ready to go, you’ll need a bunch of spices!
I’ll be honest, I completely winged this spice combination. It was spicy which is what I was going for, but feel free to change it around and substitute freely.
Once your shrimp are cleaned add them to a bowl with all your spices along with your chopped jalapeno, lime juice, and olive oil.
Let this sit for about 10 minutes to get all happy. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees, grate your cheese and slice some red onion if you want.
I also decided to mix up some cheater’s guac while I waited. Some people laugh at me when I call it this because real cheater’s guac is buying it from the store… so I’m not that much of a cheater. But basically, I just mix in salsa instead of cutting everything up from scratch.
Add some lime juice to keep the avocado from turning brown.
Cooking the Shrimp
Once your shrimp have been marinating for a few minutes, add them to a pan over medium-high heat. They should cook pretty fast depending on the size of your shrimp. Mine were the medium sized shrimp and they took about 5-6 minutes to cook through.
Once they are cooked through (won’t be pink on the inside), give them a quick chop on a cutting board. This will make them easier to put on the quesadillas. Eating whole shrimp between two tortillas is kind of awkward so this makes it easier.
The shrimp are good and the spices are intense.
Once your shrimp are cooked and chopped, it’s a pretty easy process to assemble these guys which is why I think they’d be perfect for a game day snack. You could make most of the fillings and everything before hand and then cook a bunch of these at once.
Just lay out some tortillas on a baking sheet, add some cheese, add your shrimp and onions, and then top with a bit more cheese.
Add the top tortilla and cook these for about 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. Then take out your baking sheet and carefully flip each quesadilla with a spatula.
They should be very crispy and delicious on the bottom.
Return them to the oven for another 5-6 minutes and then they should be ready to serve!
I cut mine into quarters, but you could do eighths if you were really trying to feed a crowd.
Top with your favorite toppings and go to town.
If these aren’t up your alley, here’s a few other game day appetizers I’ve made in the past that would be awesome for Sunday.
If none of those interest you then you probably shouldn’t be watching football.