Speedy Shrimp Tostadas with The Usual

Paula: When life throws you a curveball, like Chicken Shit Bingo on a Sunday afternoon (why not?), you need to have a few tricks up your sleeve. A basic understanding of chickens and how they react when startled, for instance, as well as a super fast, delicious dinner to prepare afterwards.

Scott: Weeknight games with livestock can be such a time suck. I really appreciate your choice of such a universally familiar example to highlight the pure simplicity, speed and fun of this delicious recipe.

Paula: Beyond grilling corn and firing up the shrimp (they cook in a flash), these tostadas don’t require a recipe. The shrimp cool in the skillet while you assemble whatever fresh toppings appeal to you (the only thing that’s essential, in my book, is fresh lime). Once the tortillas are nice and crisp, you can load them with beans and cheese and return them to the oven while you prepare the remaining garnishes (my favorite approach). If you don’t want to fire up the oven, use store bought tostadas and serve all the add-ons at room temperature. It’s fun to put the colorful toppings in separate bowls to allow guests, and happy kids, to build their own masterpiece.

Speedy Shrimp Tostadas

Serves 4 to 6

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Olive oil, as needed for coating
  • 2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp (thawed if frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons The Usual
  • 4 ears sweet corn 

For assembly:

  • Cooked black beans (whole or refried)
  • Grated cheese (e.g. Jack, sharp Cheddar, Cotija)
  • Thinly sliced romaine
  • Grated carrots
  • Halved cherry tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Pickled ginger
  • Lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the tortillas with a little olive oil and bake until crisp, 15 to 20 minutes, flipping them once during the process. Set aside while you prepare the shrimp. 

Place the shrimp in a large bowl, drizzle with enough olive oil to lightly coat, sprinkle with The Usual and toss to combine. Set aside to marinate at room temperature. 

Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire, or heat a gas grill to high. Clean and oil the grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place a large skillet or paella pan over the fire and allow it to preheat for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grill the corn until it’s lightly charred on all sides, then set aside.

Pour the shrimp into the hot skillet (using a rubber spatula to get all the seasoned oil) in an even layer, and cook without stirring (rotating pan if needed for even heat) until one side is lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Use a fish spatula to flip the shrimp, rotate the pan and cook for another minute or two. Remove the pan from heat and set aside while you prepare the toppings.  

Trim the corn kernels from the cob, place in serving bowl and dress them with a squeeze of lime and a pinch of salt. Top the tortillas with black beans and a sprinkling of cheese and heat in the oven until the cheese melts. Serve the tostadas topped with shrimp and your other favorite toppings and serve.


Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe, and infamous grill nerd and co-owner of PK Grills, Scott Moody.

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