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Beer-batter shrimp worth the splurge

A healthier fish sandwich that skips the breading and frying was the hook for this blog’s previous post.

But we all know that a good beer batter is worth the occasional splurge. And tacos take battered and fried seafood beyond fish ’n’ chips platters. Lime brightens homemade crema while salsa verde accents fresh avocado in this recipe from Tribune News Service.

Tacos like these also are delicious vehicles for all the fresh radishes in my recent CSA boxes from a local farm. Read my latest food section column for more on how to support the region’s foodways and preserve farmland by participating in a CSA.

Tribune News Service photo

Shrimp Tempura Tacos

1 1/2 cups rice flour, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer, cold

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Juice from 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons)

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt, as needed

Black pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil, for frying

12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

6 flour tortillas, warmed

1/4 head green or red cabbage, or a mix, shredded

4 radishes, thinly sliced into rounds

Handful of chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed

Homemade or jarred salsa verde, for serving

Lime wedges, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup of the rice flour with the all-purpose flour and baking powder.

Pour about half of the bottle of beer into bowl and whisk gently. If batter is too thick, add a little more beer. (It should be the consistency of a thick pancake batter.) Be careful not to overwork batter; a few lumps are OK. Place batter in fridge until ready to use.

Prepare crema by mixing the sour cream, mayonnaise, lime juice and sugar in a small bowl. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and black pepper; set aside.

Pour 2 inches of the oil into a large skillet or a Dutch oven and heat until it reaches 350 F.

Line a plate with paper towels and sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup rice flour on a separate plate. Season the shrimp all over with salt.

Remove tempura batter from fridge. Dredge salted shrimp in rice flour and then dip pieces into batter, one by one.

Carefully add each piece of shrimp to hot oil. Work them in small batches to avoid crowding pan. Fry until shrimp are golden brown, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to plate with paper towels and season immediately with more salt.

To assemble tacos, lay the warm tortillas on serving plates. Place 1 tablespoon lime crema on each tortilla and spread using back of a spoon. Add a small mound of the cabbage, some of the radish slices and chopped cilantro. Place a couple of fried shrimp on top, followed by some of the diced avocado and a drizzle of the salsa verde. Squeeze a couple of the lime wedges over tacos and serve remaining on the side.

Makes 6 generous tacos.

— Recipe adapted by Tribune News Service from “Tacos: Recipes and Provocations” by Alex Stupak and Jordana Rothman (Clarkson Potter; October 2015)