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Published: Sunday, 7/3/2011

Put a summery spin on standard taco bar


Question: What do you get when you cross a Lowcountry boil and a taco bar? Answer: Deliciously flavored shrimp tacos and sumptuous corn on the cob, which also equals a party!

We have always loved a buffet style taco bar as party food, and this recipe is even more fun. We've taken a Lowcountry boil (traditionally corn, shrimp, potatoes, and link sausages) and crossed it with a traditional taco bar. We like to serve it family-style on platters at a common table. This meal is fresh, it screams summer, and it takes only 20 minutes -- almost no matter how many guests you've invited.

We rely on already prepared salsa, guacamole, and already shredded cheeses, so preparing the toppings is as simple as opening a few packages. People peel their own shrimp as they build their tacos. Passing the platters at the table is part of the fun.

Be sure to provide a few empty bowls scattered about the table for shrimp tails and peels and discarded lime slices. Put out a bucket of ice-cold beer and baskets of chips, and call it a party.

Contact Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross at Desperation Dinners, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to tell us kitchenscoop.com. Visit the Desperation Dinners Web site at www.kitchenscoop.com.


Lowcountry Shrimp Tacos and Corn

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Shredded four-cheese Mexican-blend cheese, for serving

Shredded Pepper Jack cheese, for serving

1/2 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half, for serving

Shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving

Salsa of choice, for serving

Guacamole, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Lime slices, for serving

1 bottle (12 ounces) medium-bodied beer

2 tablespoons Old Bay seasoning (see Cook's note)

8 fresh ears corn, husks removed

1 pound medium shrimp (50 to 60 count) (see Cook's note)

12 small flour tortillas (fajita-size)

Cook's note: This recipe is extremely flexible. If you need to feed more people, just add more shrimp and corn per person. The amount of cheese and other toppings is also flexible. Old Bay is our seafood seasoning of choice, but any shrimp or seafood seasoning will do. Prepare the cheeses, sour cream and other toppings as desired. Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts water and the beer to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the Old Bay seasoning and corn and bring back to a boil. Cook five minutes and then add shrimp. Cook for an additional two to three minutes or until the shrimp turns pink. Drain well. Place on a platter for serving.

Warm the tortillas according to package directions and serve with the shrimp and toppings.

Yield: 8 servings or more

Approximate values per serving (2 tacos, one corn): 538 calories (28 percent from fat), 17 g fat (6 g saturated), 109 mg cholesterol, 26 g protein, 72 g carbohydrates, 7 g dietary fiber, 917 mg sodium

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