Cabbage has been a staple on Jeffry Angelo’s dinner table for as long as he can remember. The owner of Hodge Podge Lodge bed-and-breakfast in Montgomery has vivid recollections of weekends spent in Houston with family, gobbling up the cruciferous vegetable. “My grandmother was Syrian and Lebanese, and on Sundays we would have traditional Mediterranean or Lebanese dishes like stuffed grape leaves, stuffed cabbage, and kibbeh,” Angelo says.
The pleasant aroma from each family feast wasn’t bound to just the kitchen—or even the house, for that matter.
“We didn’t have air conditioning in our car when I was young,” Angelo says. “And both of my parents smoked, and us kids just needed to breathe, so we would roll down our windows and hang our heads out the window. I kid you not, as we approached the house, we could smell my grandmother’s cooking from a quarter of a mile away.”
While Angelo didn’t share one of his grandmother’s recipes, he did offer up a bright and fiery rendition of shrimp tacos. For this dish, Angelo sources cabbage from the Montgomery Farmers’ Market, then shreds the vegetable, then combines it with carrots and jicama for a crisp and refreshing slaw topping.
While you might not be able to smell these tacos from around the block, you can certainly share them with your family this spring.
Street Tacos Frandiablo
Roasted serrano pepper salsa:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 beefsteak tomatoes, quartered
1 yellow onion, diced
6 large cloves of garlic
1 or 2 serrano peppers, stems removed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ head green cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and shredded
½ jicama, peeled and shredded
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 small white onion, diced
24 fresh shrimp, peeled, with no tail
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
Garnish and assembly:
8 flour or 16 corn tortillas
Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese, shredded
2 limes, quartered
1 avocado, mashed
Diablo sauce (left over from shrimp pan)
Cilantro ranch dressing (can be store-bought)
For roasted serrano salsa:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray a sheet pan with vegetable oil.
- Lightly toss tomatoes, onion, garlic, and serrano peppers in olive oil and lightly salt. Place on the sheet pan and cook for 10–15 minutes until softened and slightly charred.
- Remove from oven and place in blender to puree.
- Toss cabbage, carrots, and jicama together in a bowl.
For diablo shrimp:
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add olive oil, jalapeño, and onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until tender and pink (about 3—4 minutes).
- Add red pepper flakes and toss to coat.
- Remove pan from heat and rest shrimp.
- Separate the shrimp from the remaining mixture, or the “diablo sauce,” and reserve the sauce.
- Place four shrimp on each flour tortilla or two shrimp on each corn tortilla.
- Add slaw, cherry tomatoes, and fresh cilantro to each tortilla.
- Top with cheese.
- Add fresh limes on the side.
- Fill small sauce cups with fresh avocado, diablo sauce, and cilantro ranch to drizzle on top.