Most maple sugaring happens in the early spring, when freezing nights are followed by progressively warmer days, and the freeze-thaw cycle gets the sap flowing. But despite being “out of season,” maple is a quintessential fall flavor at my house. I use it in baking, and in our house-favorite mustard-maple vinaigrette. I glaze sticky pork loins with it, and drizzle it on oatmeal with crunchy apples. It is a comfort flavor to me, one that evokes cozy meals in a warm house.
This fall has been exceptionally busy for my family. The kids are at a new school, further from our neighborhood, so they don’t get home until almost 5pm. I’m working 3 days a week, doing legal policy for a food advocacy non-profit, and both Peter and I have been traveling more than usual. Add in homework, piano lessons, sports, and volunteer commitments, and dinner is no longer the relaxed family time that it was when the kids were younger. Oh wait. It wasn’t relaxed then, either, with toddlers popping up from their chairs and fussing about the food, and power struggles over table manners.
I guess we all need a few extra simple suppers in the arsenal. These boldly flavored tacos fit the bill: quick, one-pan preparation, self-assembled at the table, so Certain People who don’t care for shrimp can leave them out of their tacos, and crunchy, colorful vegetables in a creamy, kid-friendly dressing. Plus, on the off chance that you have leftover broccoli slaw, you can tuck it into grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches later in the week for killer Georgia Reubens, perfect for fall.
Maple Shrimp Tacos
For the shrimp:
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the canned chipotles)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
For the Spicy Broccoli Slaw:
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 chipotle chile, minced, or more to taste
3 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 12-ounce bag broccoli slaw
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
8 corn tortillas
Whisk together maple syrup, olive oil, soy sauce, and adobo sauce in a medium bowl. Add shrimp, and toss to coat, then set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes.
To make the slaw, whisk together the mayonnaise, maple syrup, minced chipotle, lime juice and salt. Add the broccoli slaw and cilantro, and mix well. Chill until ready to serve.
Heat a grill pan over medium. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and grill, turning once, until just opaque, about 3 minutes total. Transfer shrimp to a plate and keep warm. Working in batches, warm the tortillas on the grill pan until pliable and browned in spots, about 20 seconds each.
Divide shrimp between tortillas, and top each with a heaping ¼ cup slaw. Serve immediately.
Disclaimer: This post constitutes my entry into the Think Outside the Griddle blogger contest, sponsored by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers.