Thursday, March 29, 2012

Crazy for Coconut: Recipe II (Coconut Shrimp)

My dad is an excellent cook - one of those who can pull any random ingredient from the refrigerator and make a gourmet meal of the top of his head. So when I first started experimenting in the kitchen years ago, I was a little bit intimidated, thinking that all chefs had this magical knowledge.

My mom helped me overcome this fear by finding healthy, easy recipes to begin trying out my culinary skills with. One of my first recipes was from the March 2008 issue of Southern Living - and I still have it today, with changes scribbled on it over the years and notes about good, complimentary side dishes.

The recipe: A healthy version of coconut shrimp. Sounds contradictory, doesn't it? Usually coconut shrimp is one of those fried meals you splurge on during your beach vacation. But this recipe maintains all the flavor for a lot less calories and fat... and it's relatively easy to make, so enjoy!

Coconut Shrimp with Honey-Mustard Sauce

John displaying the dinner table in our apartment

Coconut shrimp, grilled pineapple, green beans, and vegetable cous cous
Coconut Shrimp Ingredients
Serves 4

1 1/2 lb. unpeeled, large raw shrimp
Vegetable cooking spray
2 egg whites
1/2 cup corn starch
2 Tbsp. Caribbean jerk seasoning
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 tsp. paprika

Option 1 (Southern Living version)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Peel shrimp, leaving tails on; devein.
  2. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray in a 15 x 10 inch jelly-roll pan.
  3. Whisk egg whites just until foamy.
  4. Stir together cornstarch and jerk seasoning in a shallow dish. Stir together coconut, panko, and paprika in another shallow dish.
  5. Dredge shrimp, one at a time, in cornstarch mixture; dip in egg whites, and dredge in coconut mixture, pressing gently with fingers. 
  6. Lightly coat shrimp on each side with cooking spray; arrange shrimp on wire rack.
  7. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, turning once after 8 minutes.

Option 2 (my version)
  1. Follow steps 1 (omitting preheating oven) and 3 - 5 above.
  2. Spear shrimp through skewers and grill for about 12 minutes, turning halfway through.

Honey-Mustard Sauce
Serves 10

1/2 cup plain yogurt (optional - I omitted this)
1/4 cup coarse-grained mustard
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp. horseradish 

Stir together all ingredients. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 3 days.

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