Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas
This is an updated post from the Macheesmo Archives.
My requirements for these spicy shrimp quesadillas 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 also was on a mission to prove that seafood and cheese can go quite well together in a Tex-Mex dish.
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… that’t not the case with these though that will have just enough and plenty of flavor.
My wife was skeptical about the idea of a shrimp quesadilla when I told her we were having them, but she quickly saw the light. They’re delicious!
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!
Spicy Shrimp Quesadillas
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 or kitchen shears, 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 chiles, 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.
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.
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.
I also mixed together an avocado, some sour cream, and the juice of a lime in a little food processor for a quick avocado cream sauce. Great topper!
Top these spicy shrimp quesadillas with your favorite toppings and go to town.