Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Skinny Coconut Shrimp

Let us rejoice: football is over.  With the Super Bowl on Sunday, the season roared to a close, and I am truly ecstatic.  It seems like that horrific sport is a year-round pain in my ass, but, praise God, it's done.  I still wasn't feeling the greatest the day of, and Nick was cooking up loads of meaty things like chicken wings and sausage calzones, so I let him have the kitchen.  Once the game started, everyone scattered and I was able to get back in there.  I was pretty excited to try out a recipe that I have been wanting to make for a while now: coconut shrimp.  Not just any coconut shrimp, either: skinny coconut shrimp, from Skinny Taste. 

I have always been a fan of coconut shrimp; I think it was basically the first way I started eating shrimp when I was a teenager.  But let's be honest: frying anything at home is not easy or fun (remember my painful experience of the fried shallots for the green bean casserole?), or healthy, for that matter.  That's why I was thrilled when I found a baked version that is so healthy that you could eat three shrimp, plus a whole tablespoon of dipping sauce, for less than 4 grams of fat and 161 calories.  Can you even imagine!?

The thing about shrimp is that it is tricky to buy them.  You can get them fresh, shelled and deveined, but you have to use them that day.  You can buy them frozen, shelled and deveined, but they cost $15 for a pound.   Or, you can buy frozen for $7 a pound, but you have to be a ruthless butcher and shell them, and rip them open and peel out the veins.  So there is no good option, if you ask me.  For this night, I unfortunately ended up having to do the latter.  The shrimp were pretty small, so a pound of them ended up being a fairly large number, and it took me a loooong time to peel and devein them.  It took me so long that my grandmother kept asking where I had gone.  But I can promise that there was not a scrap of anything gross in my shrimp!  It's like when I do anything with meat, and I spend hours removing any repulsive segment of fat.  But anyway once I got them in tip-top shape, it was time to coconut-ify them.  That was really easy, actually.  You dredge them in flour, then dunk them in egg, and then into a mixture of coconut, panko, and salt.  Then bake them  up, and your kitchen smells like Bermuda, and then: coconut shrimp time.

Of course, while they bake, you have to make the dipping sauce.  Any good coconut shrimp comes with a sweet and spicy dip, and this was no different.  This one is really easy: apricot preserves, rice wine vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Of course, I barely sprinkled the pepper flakes in, and certainly did not use the full 3/4 teaspoon it called for, but you know me: I hate spice.  The sauce was delicious, but it did make way too much; you could definitely cut the recipe in half if you don't have a crazed dip lover.

The final result was amazing.  I loved these little bites of coconutty shrimp, and the sweet and spicy apricot dip was a perfect complement.  And if you don't want to take my word for it, ask Nick, who hates everything but devoured them.  Or my mother, who sat next to me as the two of us ate shrimp after shrimp.  Or my grandmother, who I am pretty sure never eats anything if she can't cut it in "hoff" or "just put a little on a sauc-ah;" she ate eight  of them!  Definitely an excellent snack for a football party, or, since (thank god) football is done, for any time, really :)


Skinny coconut shrimp
from Skinny Taste

Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 3 shrimp, 1 tbsp sauce Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 4 pts
Calories: 161.6 • Fat: 3.4 g Protein: 10.2 g Carb: 22.2 g Fiber: 1.8 g Sugar: 15.7 g
Sodium: 164.3 (without salt)

1 lb. (or 24) large raw shrimp, peeled and deviened (weight after peeled)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp panko crumbs  (I was out of panko and used regular. All was fine)
2 tbsp all purpose flour (you will only use 1 tbsp)
1 large egg
pinch salt
non-stick spray

For the Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup apricot preserves (you can use sugar free if you wish)
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes


1) Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a non-stick baking sheet with cooking spray.  Combine coconut flakes, panko crumbs and salt in a bowl. Place the flour on a small dish. Whisk egg in another bowl.

2) Lightly season shrimp with salt. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg, then in the coconut crumb mixture.

3) Lay shrimp on the cookie sheet then spray the top of the shrimp with more cooking spray; bake in the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Turn shrimp over then cook another 6-7 minutes or until cooked though. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce.

4) For the sauce, combine all the ingredients and place in a small bowl


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