Saltado with Shrimp

Where I live, in a town of 50,000, there is no “fine” dining. There are three restaurants my husband and I go to (I can’t even say frequent) when I want a break from cooking. Sadly, we maintain low expectations. Otherwise, we’d be terribly disappointed, instead of just able to laugh things off.

It’s not only the lack of quality and consistency of the food, but the terrible menus (this problem is not limited to my town) and the crazy bad service.

The only exception is Mexican restaurants. Thank god for these. There are quite a few, and we have our favorites, but it took years for them to reach the quality they are today. I can’t count how many times we experienced rancid chips or stale chips, overcooked chicken, bad salsa, etc. And why serve queso that’s “free” but tastes like dish water?

Anyway, we are now enjoying happier times when it comes to local Mexican restaurants. My favorite is one with a salsa bar. My husband’s favorite serves decent tasting salsa, but it’s served ice cold, and I’m constantly removing tomato peels from my mouth, which drives me crazy. But my husband loves their quesadillas.

We were at this restaurant recently when I spotted a menu item called Saltado, which could be chicken, beef, or shrimp. I was served this lovely plate of food, after choosing shrimp version.

What I loved about this dish was that the shrimp were perfectly cooked, and it was fresh and light. This isn’t typical with Mexican food in Oklahoma, being that we’re so close to Texas. But this Saltado could have been served at a Mexican restaurant in Malibu.

It turns out that Saltado originates from Peru, but when I read about it, it was really nothing like what I was served, so I’m not going to get into it. Like the fact that’s it’s more of a Chinese stir fry with beef, vegetables, and French fries. What? Maybe I shouldn’t google.

So here is my rendition of Saltado.

Saltado with Shrimp

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 poblano chile peppers, finely chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of oil
1 1/2 pounds raw shrimp, cleaned, peeled
Tajin seasoning or your favorite seasoning salt
Chopped cilantro

For serving:
Street-sized flour tortillas
Sour cream
Refried beans

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the onion and peppers and toss them around until there’s a bit of caramelization, then turn down the heat and sauté for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes and seasoning, and cook gently until there’s no liquid in the skillet.

Once the vegetables are “dry” place them on a serving platter. Cover lightly with foil to keep warm and set aside.

Heat the same skillet, dried out with paper towels if necessary, with the oil. Over medium heat, sauté the shrimp just until they’re pink and opaque. Season them generously with Tajin Seasoning. Place the shrimp over the vegetables.

Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the top, if desired, and serve immediately.

Offer warm tortillas and bowls of guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gaillo or salsa. If you have (crazy) people eating who don’t like cilantro, serve it separately in a bowl as well.

If you prefer, roast the poblano peppers first, then peel, remove seeds, and chop. You won’t need to sauté them with the onions.

I also served refried beans heated with some cheese. At the restaurant they serve both beans and rice.

And, this mixture works really well for making shrimp tacos!

58 thoughts on “Saltado with Shrimp

  • We totally echo your thoughts about going out to eat. We got spoiled by the restaurants in Atlanta, and we quickly realized we had to lower our expectations up here in upstate New York. But with that said, we’ve found our favorites over the years. I also love recreating dishes that we find out at restaurants…there’s a fun challenge there. I’m not familiar with saltado, but this looks like a delicious recipe!

    • Oh, I bet. I’ve never been to Atlanta, but I know of its foodie reputation. I’m just glad I cook, and my husband is really glad I cook. But sometimes it really is nice just to take a break, and especially fun to go out with friends of course for dinner. Nobody has to do dishes. But oh the stories i can tell of dining experiences in this town….

  • It’s not that much different in big cities, unfortunately, even in fine dining restaurants. Most time it’s just passable.
    The dish looks fresh and tasty. I can definitely see the Chinese influence in the cooking.

    • Passable is horrible. I’m sorry to hear that. There’s nothing terribly unique about this dish, but it’s really good!

      • It is frustrating, even though I miss the restaurant scene regardless. Restaurants in NY are only allowed to serve outdoors, which is far from pleasant, and so many closed altogether. Very sad. :(

      • It’s really horrible and sad. I saw that Grammercy was seating people in the street. I’m surprised the city allows that, but I’m all for the restaurants getting back in business.

      • Yes it is very sad. As much as I would like to support the restaurants, sitting in the street, surrounded by car fumes, in the summer heat – is not my kind of dining experience. Hopefully things will get back to a bit more normal soon..

  • This looks so flavourful with the poblano chilie peppers cumin and cilantro( cant live without this) While we love Tex Mex, have not come across Saltado…this looks very appetizing!

    • I was honestly surprised to see it on the menu, and now it’s the only thing I order there, although it’s been 5 months!

  • That looks so good. We don’t have too much to offer here in Central Pennsylvania, but my heart breaks for everyone in the business right now. Two of our favorite casual spots did pretty well with takeout, and we continue to support them. It’s hard to imagine what we’ll find in a year or two.

  • Very nice! and I love the use of Tajin… somehow I forget about it when seasoning things, I tend to use it on fresh avocado almost exclusively… silly of me…

  • It has a nice “ring” to it – I mean Saltado! Any shrimp dish is a big plus for me especially with vegetables and lots of great seasonings. I just bought Tajin seasoning – did I get that idea from you? Great recipe and I look forward to trying it…

    • Ha! Now I feel like exclaiming Saltado!!! And no, I don’t think I’ve ever mention Tajin in a blog post, but i do use it occasionally. This is a really nice recipe, thanks.

  • Yes, indeed, lomo saltado is the national dish of Peru. (Or one of them at least.) A product of Peru’s significant Asian population, a legacy of the trans-Pacific trade started by the Spaniards in colonial days. See, no need to Google it…;-) I had it in Lima a couple of years back and, to be totally honest, was underwhelmed. I’d take your shrimp saltado any day!

    • Maybe you were underwhelmed because of the French fries in it?!!! I was in Peru for a week and I’m glad I didn’t order it! This recipe is fabulous!

  • Mimi, I’m with Frank, as I’ve also had Lomo Saltado and was totally disappointed. Mind you, I had it a our local Peruvian Restaurant that isn’t that great to start with. Your Saltado, would be my choice any day.
    We live in a small town with two pizza joints of which both are bad and one so so Thai takeaway. So, most of our dinning is at home even prior to COVID days. But, we have no Mexican restaurants, not even a taco food truck in all of the South of Sweden. So, please enjoy a basket of chips and salsa for me…

    • Okay, I will. And sorry for complaining! Bad pizza is pretty terrible. You probably have a hard time finding avocados, too. It’s always better to eat at home. My husband is very lucky. Sometimes it’s just fun to go out and take a break. But it’s been months since we had and I’m not missing it.

  • This makes me wonder if “saltado” is the word in Peruvian dialect for “sauté?” I love lomo saltado, French fries and all, and wonder what poor Frank and Ron had – I make it quite often and it is truly wonderful. That said, your shrimp look fabulous and I will definitely be giving this a try.

    • Ha!!! Well that’s interesting. I’m kind of glad I stuck with what I was familiar with in Peru, cause everything was amazing. This dish is pretty basic, but I love any excuse to eat guacamole and salsa!

  • Mimi! I’ve never even heard of Saltado! But I have to say, your homemade version is definitely the one I would want! It looks so fresh and appetizing. And, I love that you used Tajin Seasoning. It is a punch of flavor on anything! Beautiful dish! And sorry about your restaurant situation. Good thing the Mexican restaurants have stepped it up.

    • After 31 years I’m pretty used to the restaurant situation in this town. But that’s also why we travel so much. Which, isn’t happening so, so that part is hard for me! And a lot of folks.

    • Thanks. Someone just told me that the owners of this Mexican restaurant are from Argentina and not Mexico. I know Argentina isn’t Peru, but maybe it explains why Saltado is on the menu. But thank god there are no French fries mixed in. I like it simple and fresh!

    • Thank you! It’s a really yummy dish. As far as restaurants go, that’s why we travel so much. Of course, that’s not happening now….

    • Oh I’d hate to have any allergy to food, but especially seafood! This really is a nice, flavorful dish. And it’s so good with salsa and guacamole.

  • What a fresh and delicious spin on saltado, I LOVE it! This looks so tasty, the combo of veggies and peppers is making me so hungry. Talk about the perfect summer meal, YUM!

    • It’s so good. I love all the veggies, but I also love all of the goodies like guacamole and salsa to serve with it!

  • We are very fortunate to be living in a world-class city with many nationalities; that’s not to say that we haven’t had bad food. I love recreating restaurant dishes as well. This one looks perfect for a hot summer’s night, and pretty enough to serve for a dinner party.

    • I’m really not a big city person, so I get what I paid for, so to speak! But I still complain sometimes 😬

  • Frau Merkel, chancellor of Germany would say this is multi – cultural one, although her idea of multicultural society has failed; we may, all together stick to food: it binds peoples together easily …. Thank you for this twist Mimi :-)

  • Your version of this is terrific! I’ve had this in restaurants, and liked it well enough; but not enough so that I wanted to make it myself. Yours, though, I definitely want to make. Thanks!

    • Thank you so much! It’s definitely a compliment. But you just can’t go wrong with ingredients like these!

  • Mimi, your version looks/sounds delectable. I haven’t had this dish, and I’m eager to. Loving the flavors so much — especially poblano chiles (my favorite). Can’t wait to try it. :-) ~Valentina

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