Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Baked Coconut Shrimp

When your city turns into a snow globe and you have the day off work and school, there's not a chance you're going to go out grocery shopping! It was one of those nights where you scour the fridge and pantry for any possible collection of ingredients that could somehow turn into a satisfying meal, allowing you to forget about your inevitable messy commute come the following morning. When I failed to find any leftovers or raw ingredients in the fridge that I could magically whip into something, I immediately turned to my good ol' standby frozen, raw shrimp. There is never a time when my freezer does not contain at least one bag of frozen, raw shrimp so that on nights such as this, I don't have to reluctantly open a box of macaroni and florescent orange cheese powder to sustain me for the evening. With recent dreams of beaches, sand, and coconuts floating through my red head, I couldn't help but be drawn to the bag of unsweetened shredded coconut in the freezer, just begging to be used as a crispy coating for my frozen shrimp. 

I tend to turn my kitchen into a disaster zone whenever there is any type of breading involved, so I expected this evenings dinner of coconut shrimp to be no exception, especially considering this was my first go at making the sweet and savory delight. Thankfully the coconut shrimp production line proved to be far more tidy than the spaetzle and veal scallopini tornado of 2014, and in less than 10-minutes, my little shrimps were coated in a mixture of toasted coconut and panko breadcrumbs and baking in the oven. When a new dish goes as smoothly as that, I can't help but assume it's going to be a bit of a failure come that first bite, but my baked coconut shrimp was an absolute gold medal winner in my books! A little pre-toast of the coconut and panko breadcrumbs in a dry pan proved to be beneficial, giving the shrimp coating a wonderful crunchy texture, and enhancing the nutty flavour of the coconut. It's that great crispy texture that surprised me and made me wonder why I was ever bothering to purchase pre-made frozen coconut shrimp in the past, which had always left me unsatisfied, disappointed in the flimsy, almost-soggy texture that they would always come out as. With such wonderful flavour, texture, and ease of production I will absolutely be adding this recipe to my "Danielle's Favourites" section of the blog. Now excuse me while I slip back into my dream of sun, sand, and coconuts. 

Ingredients:
1 Ib raw shrimp (fresh or thawed from frozen), peeled, deveined, & patted dry with a paper towel
salt, to season
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten
oil for baking pan
spicy dipping sauce, for serving (I like to use a Thai dipping sauce)

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 425Âș.
  2. In a medium pan, add the coconut and panko breadcrumbs and toast at medium heat until golden. Keep a close eye on the pan as they will go from golden to burnt very quickly! Spoon into a small bowl immediately to prevent further browning. Add a pinch of salt to the mixture.
  3. Lightly sprinkle a pinch or two of salt over the shrimp to season. 
  4. Pour the flour and beaten egg into two separate small bowls. Lightly spray or rub a medium-large baking sheet with olive oil or coconut oil. Line up your station so you have first your shrimp, then the bowl of flour, then the bowl of beaten egg, then the bowl of coconut and panko, then your baking sheet, all in a line.
  5. Dip a shrimp into the flour to coat evenly, lightly shaking off any excess. Dip the flour dusted shrimp into the egg mixture to coat, then into the coconut and panko mixture, pressing to coat. Place the coated shrimp onto the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining shrimp. 
  6. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip shrimp using tongs, and bake for an additional 6-7 minutes. Serve immediately with spicy dipping sauce. 

Listening To:
Beyoncé - XO

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