On Friday, I posted a recipe for clones of Red Lobster’s garlic-cheddar biscuits. Another thing that I love from Red Lobster’s menu is coconut shrimp, but it’s fairly expensive so I really don’t order it often when I go there. They do have something called “shrimp your way” on their menu, which allows you to choose two or three shrimp items from the menu, including coconut shrimp “bites”, so occasionally I get those, but more often, I like to make my own coconut shrimp at home! I can buy good quality, U.S. wild-caught shrimp for both myself and Philip for about the same price of one of the least expensive lunch items on the Red Lobster menu….this is why we rarely eat out. We are constantly reminding ourselves of how well we can eat at home for so much less than we can eat at a restaurant…..
So, I got a half-pound of wild-caught Key West pink shrimp from Greenlife. If you didn’t know, Greenlife is actually on Greenpeace’s list of best places to buy sustainable seafood, although now that they are really Whole Foods, I wonder if the score is a little lower. I try to buy all of my seafood from there, not only for sustainability purposes but because I trust the sources that Greenlife uses to obtain their seafood as far as food safety, mercury levels, etc., go. Seafood is a tricky business these days. For more info, go to Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch website. You can download a card there that tells you seafood choices for health and safety as well as sustainability purposes. I am somewhat of a closet environmentalist. I feel very strongly about respecting our natural resources, and I try to make food choices that support those resources. Anyway…..
This recipe is a mash-up of a recipe from Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Restaurant Recipes 2 and Cook Yourself Thin from the Lifetime Network. Todd’s recipe is deep-fried, and I rarely deep-fry anything…in fact, the only reason anything ever gets deep-fried around here is that one of us had a beignet or apple fritter craving. You can’t bake those, you just can’t. It wouldn’t be right. So, I used Todd’s breading combination, but followed the baking directions from Cook Yourself Thin. The results were fantastic!
Before I start the shrimp, I make the dipping sauce. For 2 servings, put 1/4 cup light sour cream in a bowl. Add about 1/4 cup of chopped pineapple (I keep pineapple chunks in my freezer and just dice them up while they’re still frozen. See my cute little cutting board? My aunt bought it for me!), a tablespoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of rum. This is Sailor Jerry’s Spiced Rum, and it makes this sauce GOOOOD. If you don’t want to use the rum, just use some pineapple juice. Now, on to the shrimp….
Of course, I always start by putting my Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan in the oven. If you don’t have one just use a regular baking sheet! Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Start by peeling and deveining the shrimp. These are 26/30 shrimp, which means that there are approximately 26-30 shrimp per pound (okay, technically it means 26-30 tails but doesn’t that really just mean 26-30 shrimp?). 26/30s are pretty much medium. To peel, I cut the shell at the top with kitchen shears, then simply pull the shells off. I left the tails on for presentation purposes. I use a paring knife to devein the shrimp; I am pretty obsessive about getting all of the vein, because the vein is actually the shrimp’s digestive tract, and that grosses me out. I run the knife along the top and bottom sides of the shrimp, wiping the knife on a paper towel between swipes. I usually do this one task at a time: cut all the shrimp; peel all the shrimp; devein all the shrimp-while moving them back and forth between 2 bowls to keep up with which ones I have done and which I haven’t.
Now, set up the breading station. This nifty little snap-together breading station was purchased at a Pampered Chef party for 1/2-price, but you can definitely use some shallow bowls or pie pans. The first one has 1/2 cup flour; the second two beaten egg whites; the third 1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and 1/2 cup shredded coconut. I put some salt and pepper into each ingredient.
Now, dip the shrimp on both sides into the flour, then into the egg white, and finally into the panko/coconut mixture. After breading, I just put the shrimp onto a baking sheet. This shrimp was just for demonstration purposes; after this one I just put them all into the flour, then the egg, then the panko/coconut.
Now, the oven and baking sheet should be ready. If you are using a metal baking pan, you will need to spray it. I, of course, use my Misto, but if you don’t have one, nonstick cooking spray will be fine. If you are using a stoneware pan, you won’t need to spray it, but I did spray the side of the shrimp that would be going on the bottom. Using tongs, transfer the shrimp to the pan and spray the tops. Put them in the oven for 7 minutes, turn, spray the tops again, and bake for 6 minutes.
Serve these with your fantastic pineapple sauce. It’s restaurant food at home!