Recipe Spotlight: Belize Shrimp Tapa with Plantain, Guacamole and Tropical Salsa

As the weather is getting cooler, try warming up with this Caribbean-inspired tapa! The naturally sweet flavor of these Responsible Choice shrimp from Belize don’t need a lot of flavors added. This recipe brings out the natural flavor of the shrimp by using regional flavors of the Caribbean—“What grows together, goes together.”

A 6-ounce portion of shrimp is a great source of high-quality, lean protein and is low-calorie. Shrimp provides 39 grams of protein and contains all of the amino acids that your cells can’t synthesize on their own. By adding shrimp to your diet, you boost your intake of zinc and selenium, which activates the enzymes to help fight cancer growth.

Avocado has great health benefits, too. Half of an avocado contains 7 grams of monounsaturated fat and 1.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, which are heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Avocados also contain fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate and potassium.

Plantains are related to a banana, but are a vegetable and should never be eaten raw. Plantains contain fiber, beta-carotene, calcium and vitamin k.

Try Modelo Especial from Mexico or a nice crisp Albarino from Spain, to enjoy alongside of this tapa.


Belize Shrimp with Plantain, Guacamole and Tropical Salsa

All you need:

  • Olive oil, as needed
  • 3 plantains, sliced into 1-inch rounds (about 20 pieces)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 pound raw, E-Z peel Belize shrimp, shells removed
  • Prepared Guacamole, recipe follows
  • Prepared Tropical Salsa, recipe follows

All you do:

  1. In a sauté pan, heat a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the cut plantains in the hot oil and brown on both sides. This should take about 4 minutes, but you might have to do this in batches. Remove plantains to a cutting board and cover with parchment or waxed paper.
  2. With a heavy pan, carefully mash the plantains to flatten them slightly. Return to pan and cook again until crisp. Remove from pan and season with a little salt. Keep warm in low oven.

For the shrimp:

  1. In the same pan, add a little olive oil and sauté the shrimp in batches. They will turn bright pink. It should only take about 2 minutes; don’t overcook or the shrimp will be rubbery.

To assemble to tapa:

  1. Spread a thin layer of the guacamole on the plantain, top with one shrimp and garnish with the Tropical Salsa.

Chef Jess’s Guacamole

All you need:

  • 1/4 cup small-diced red onions
  • 4 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and cut in small dice (use more if tomatoes are small)
  • 2 tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 avocados, cut in small dice

All you do:

  1. In a large bowl, add the chopped onion, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and salt. Fold in the avocado. Mash to the consistency that you like.

Tropical Salsa

All you need:

  • 1 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 2 mangos, diced
  • Half a red bell pepper, cut in small dice
  • Half a small red onion, cut in small dice
  • 3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 to 2 jalapenos, or to taste, chopped
  • 1 to 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 to 2 tsp cumin, optional
  • 1 to 2 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

All you do:

  1. Add pineapple, mango, red pepper, red onion, cilantro and mint to a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice on top; stir. Season with the cumin, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste; mix in.

Author: Jessica Dolson

My name is Jessica Dolson, but you can call me Jess. I am a July 2012 graduate from IWCC Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management program. Since I can remember, I have had a passion for food. Growing up cooking and eating what we grew or raised made me realize how important it is for me to share that passion with others. My major focus being a chef is education, through holding classes, tasting events, wine dinners and live cooking demonstrations. It is very important to me to teach children and adults what they are eating and where their food comes from. I have learned to show people the nutritional differences between foods and show them a variety of ways to cook simple dishes, which results in families coming together and enjoying food with each other.

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