South-of-the-Border Seafood

So, as a retail slave, I don’t get weekends off.  It’s unheard of.  So when all the planets align, and I find myself with a consecutive Saturday and Sunday off, I celebrate.  I tell The Hippy that I don’t care what we do or where we go, we’re going somewhere.  Last weekend, thanks to a major holiday the previous weekend that caused me to work 6 days in a row, we took off to Hastings, MN.

The trip itself is not really worth noting.  We did a little geocaching, but evidently Hastings is a GPS suck, and none of the coordinates were working out right on either the phone or the GPS.  We found 1/3, which is pretty bad for us.

What is worth noting is that Hastings is home to the very best Mexican restaurant in the world: Las Margaritas.  It was down the street from our hotel, so we thought we’d give it a shot, and we were SO glad we did.  To start, the decor is amazing.  I’m not usually into “ethnic” decor–as in, I wouldn’t decorate my home with it–but this place seriously put a lot of time and probably money into their decor.  Every table and chair was hand carved and painted.  It just didn’t seem like it was possible the furniture was mass-produced, but maybe it was.

Then, the menu.  The menu is HUGE.  It’s really hard to pick something.  I’m actually pretty sure it doesn’t matter what you pick–it will be amazing.  The only reason I wouldn’t just go in there, close my eyes, and drop my finger on the menu is because I’m rather picky–no peppers (unless they’re blended to a bloody pulp), no raw onions, to raw tomatoes…

The Hippy had the Special Dinner, which if I can remember correctly consisted of 1 taco, 1 enchilada, 1 tostada, 1 stuffed chile, 1 tomale, and rice and beans.  I think Jimmy Hoffa may have also been in there somewhere.  It was huge.  I had the Mazatlan which was a crab and shrimp enchilada and a shrimp quesadilla.  It seemed small, but paired with the amazing chips and salsa you get, it was way more than enough.  And so tasty.  So. Very. Tasty.  Both The Hippy and I practically moaned every time we took a bite.  All conversation stopped because for the duration of the eating, all we could say was “this is so good” or “this is the best thing I’ve ever tasted.”

Seriously.  Go there now.

However, if you can’t go there, which I can’t, I’ve concocted a recipe that is an homage to the Mazatlan.  Instead of a crab and shrimp enchilada (because I don’t want to fuss with sauce) or just a shrimp quesadilla (because why stop with just shrimp?), I’ve made a shrimp and “frab” quesadilla for your frying pleasure.

What’s frab?  Faux Crab.  Feel free to use the real stuff, but I shop at Aldi, and my choices are limited.

What you need:

  • 2 Corn tortillas (or flour, but lets just agree that corn is more tastier)
  • Quesadilla Cheese (trust me, if I can find it at Aldi, you can get it anywhere.  It’s in with the cheeses, I promise)
  • 8 medium shrimp, peeled
  • 4 “chunks” frab
  • peanut oil for frying

First, break your shrimps (or chrimps, as my sister and I call them–points if you know what it’s from) and your frab into little pieces and throw them into a skillet with preheated peanut oil like so:

Beautiful.

When it’s cooked and covered in caramelly bits of fried goodness, scoop it out onto a paper towel to catch some of the grease.  This is not health food, but there’s no sense in letting it be greasier than it has to be.

In the same oil you used to cook your seafood (waste not, want not), fry up one side of one of your tortillas.  While that’s cooking, break up a chunk of your quesadilla cheese like so and so:

This is your tortilla on peanut oil.

This, unfortunately, is not enough cheese.

When the tortilla starts to curl and get brown on the bottom, take it out and set it on a piece of paper towel as well.  Why?  Because this method avoids the tricky “quesadilla flip” scenario.  Trust me.  This is much more betterer.

Throw your other tortilla (you should know that the entire time I’ve been typing this, I’ve been saying “tor-til-la”.  Also “Kay-sa-dil-la”.  That’s how I roll) into that very same peanut oil.  If you don’t have any left, you didn’t use enough in the first place.  Add some more.  Put half your cheese on the tortilla:

Again, regratably not enough cheese.

Throw your seafood on top of that, and sprinkle on the rest of the cheese:

Still not enough cheese. But definitely enough of everything else. Nom.

Throw your last tortilla on top and smoosh it down.  Let it cook about a minute more or until cheese is melty and the bottom tortilla is crispy.  Enjoy:

Pre-enjoyment, which I did, despite the lack of cheese.

Okay, so why so much bitching about the cheese?  Well, in an attempt to make this healthier (ha!), I used way less cheese than I normally do.  That cheese has a seriously high calorie count, y’all.  But the problem is, the cheese is the glue.  It’s what holds the whole damn thing together.  My top tortilla came flopping away from the quesadilla proper.  It was still amazingly tasty, don’t get me wrong.  I’m thinking, though, that I should probably make this puppy an open-faced quesadilla in the future.  It would cut the cheese and the tortilla calories in half.  There’s no reason to skimp on the seafood.  That’s just crazy talk.

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