Friday, March 2, 2012

Toasty Tropical Oven-Baked Coconut Lime Shrimp

    Mixed marriage.  I'm in one.  Have been for more years than can be counted on fingers.  And toes. A couple of times over.  Does it work? Most of the time.  No, I didn't convert and neither did he. Well, I WAS mislead at the beginning of our relationship as the hubby pretended to be something other than what he was.  He wanted to be cool, one of the "in" crowd and would sit at the table with the rest of us and eat crabs.  Oh, did you think I was talking about religion?  Nah, that would have been easier. 

    With me, crabs, seafood and fish are almost a religion.  I'm devout.  He's a seafood atheist. The kids?  They dabble in the religion, but haven't been regular congregants.  I'm still working on that conversion. 
    Which brings me to the subject at is the season of fish!  And shrimp, and crab and scallops and all those delights that swim, crawl and skitter in and around the seas and lakes of the good old U. S. of A. Hallelujah! Can I have an amen?!   

    Lent, for me, is just an excuse to indulge - and indulge I do at bargain Lenten prices.  Like tonight.  Dinner this evening was shrimp....not just any shrimp, but Oven-Fried Coconut Lime Shrimp.  It was heavenly, almost a religious experience I swear.  

    I did a little riff on my regular coconut shrimp to eliminate the frying to reduce the calories. I wanted to pump up the coconut and I thought a little lime would boost the tropical vibe going on, too.  Instead of using all beaten egg white to help adhere the coconut, I added cream of coconut (yep, the same stuff you put in your Pina Colada), then added some lime zest.  For the dredge I used cornstarch with some added spices.  

    What I love about fried coconut shrimp is the toasty, crunchy coconut around the sweet, tender shrimp inside.  Without frying, how to get the crunch?  I toasted the coconut ahead of time and misted a little olive oil over it, tossed it and then crusted the shrimp.  Success!  Here's how.

    Toasty Tropical Oven-Baked Coconut Lime Shrimp

    • 12 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied

    • 1 egg white
    • 1/4 c. cream of coconut
    • grated zest of 1 lime

    • 1/3 cup cornstarch
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

    • 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted in a 325 degree oven until golden, cool
    • olive oil Pam or olive oil in a mister 

    •  lime wedges
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Beat egg white, cream of coconut and lime zest together in a bowl.  Set aside.
Mix cornstarch, cayenne, salt and pepper together in a study plastic bag.  Set aside.
Spray cooled coconut with olive oil and toss right on the baking sheet.  Set aside.  Spray a second baking sheet with olive oil to place the shrimp onto for baking.
Add shrimp to wet mixture and toss until the shrimp are coated. Add shrimp one at a time to the dry mixture.  Close bag tightly and shake until the shrimp are well coated. One shrimp at a time, press the coconut onto both sides of the shrimp and place each shrimp onto the oiled baking sheet.
Bake shrimp for about 10 minutes (depending on the size of the shrimp - larger shrimp take a little longer, smaller shrimp a little less time) until just cooked through.  Do not overbake - you don't want dry, tough shrimp...keep them moist, tender and succulent.
Plate up the shrimp, squeeze a little fresh lime juice over top, sprinkle with a little Kosher salt and do some of your own indulging.  They're divine.
NOTE:  If you wish, fry them instead of baking.  Heat oil to 350 degrees in a cast iron skillet and fry instead of baking.  
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