Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Melon Salsa.

Is there anything more constant in life than Mondays and tacos?

Nope. Not in mine. I can always count on both.

I sort of love it too. Not the Monday part so much – my entire life I’ve had a severe case of Sunday blues that rolls right into Monday, regardless of what my current occupation or life situation is – but Mondays usually result in excellent productivity which I then reward myself for with tacos.

Uh huh. It kinda works like that.

Mondays are by far my longest “work” day. While I always end up working on Fridays or Saturdays or Sundays, it may just be a few hours here or there, even half a day or something, but even if it’s a full day, it’s never REALLY a full day because I tend to start later or end earlier. I figure that Mondays are going to stink no matter what, so I try to cram in as much junk as I can. It also makes the time go fast and then BOOM! it’s Tuesday. And then boom! it’s Thursday and then Sunday and the cycle starts all over again. Busy Mondays just make me feel good.

I’m glad I just wrote a paragraph about that.

So jerk tacos.

The thing about jerk seasoning is that it’s never been my favorite. I’m sure it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that I prefer semi-artificial flavors a little more – things like buffalo and BBQ – made as unartificially homemade as I can manage – and what not. But – when I do have it? I really enjoy it because it is such a welcomed, unexpected chance of pace. As goofy as it sounds, it hits my palette in a completely different way than the majority of foods I eat weekly. And I am so not that sophisticated.

Being that I worship at the altar of fruit salsa, it’s nearly impossible for me to make a taco or eat a tortilla chip without having some sort piled on top. I used my first cantaloupe of the year to make this salsa – after I ate the other half directly from the rind with a spoon. While I sat on the couch and watched Fashion Police.

On a Friday night.

Wild life. I was also wearing extreme neon (my husband said I looked like I walked right out go 1987) and, well… I can’t even imagine what Joan Rivers would say about my not-so-hot messiness.

Anyway though: the fruit salsa. Since the jerk seasoning has a lot more spice than most flavors I use on my normal everyday tacos (yeah that’s a thing), I wanted something extra cooling. I do not discriminate when it comes to specific fruit in my salsa and while I often choose berries or something, I stared at the remaining cantaloupe wedge in the fridge and thought it would be perfectly cooling.

It totally was.

And it is really amazing that all it took to make me like Mondays… was a big, fat taco.


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Jerk Shrimp Tacos with Spicy Melon Salsa

Yield: serves 2-4

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

1 pound raw peeled + deveined shrimp (I like the large grill shrimp)
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
corn or flour tortillas
crumbled queso fresca cheese

salsa
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 cup freshly torn cilantro
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

About 1 hour before serving, whisk together all of the spices (the mixed onion through the salt) in a bowl. Add the shrimp to a large ziplock bag or baking dish, then toss with olive oil and lime juice. Coat the shrimp with the jerk seasoning then marinate for 30 minutes in the fridge.

While the shrimp is marinating, combine all the salsa ingredients in a bowl, seasoning with the salt. Toss well and let sit until ready to eat.

After 30 minutes, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Add the shrimp (I did not add any remaining marinade that was in the bag) and cook until it is pink and opaque on both sides, about 4-5 minutes. Warm tortillas if desired, then assemble tacos (or even nachos!) with shrimp, salsa and crumble queso fresco cheese.

[jerk seasoning slightly adapted from allrecipes]

Oh and a bigger, fatter margarita.