I was out to dinner with my family last weekend, enjoying a nice meal, when one of the servers brought out a plate of lovely, sizzling hot coconut shrimp and set it down right in front of me. I love coconut shrimp, and my husband and I marvelled at what gorgeous shrimp it was. It made my mouth water. The thing of it was, neither of us had ordered coconut shrimp. I wanted to keep it anyway, but my better half pointed out that it wouldn't be right. That some hungry diner had actually ordered that coconut shrimp and was most likely sitting nearby, anxiously waiting for it. Oh POOH! I hate it when he plays the ethics and fairness cards on me! Of course, he was right and I reported the mistake to our server, who took the shrimp away and delivered it to its rightful owner.
I thought about that shrimp many times over the next few days. How beautiful and succulent it looked! How heavenly it smelled! I could have just made some for myself, but as I've already disclosed here, fried foods are not my forte. As a matter of fact, I have attempted coconut shrimp several times before, with pretty dismal results. I've ended up with burned shrimp, soggy shrimp, and shrimp where the coconut wouldn't stick and ended up in the bottom of the frying pan. I've never been able to achieve that crispy, golden brown, coconutty crust, and I finally gave up trying.
The other day, I popped into my local supermarket to pick up a few things, and I was greeted by a wonderful and familiar smell. The Publix Aprons lady was in her demo kitchen and she was making...are you ready for this...coconut shrimp! (Insert Twilight Zone theme here.) I hightailed it over there to get my sample! Mmmm! It really hit the spot!
I've posted about Publix's Aprons program before. Each week, they feature a different recipe and have all of the ingredients conveniently laid out in one handy place with printed recipe cards. I've gotten some great recipes there. This coconut shrimp recipe definitely had some greatness potential, but given my history, I wistfully moved on.
This was just too much! I can be a little dense at times, but you didn't have to hit me over the head with a brick for me to realize that someone was trying to tell me something.
"MAKE COCONUT SHRIMP!!!"
I turned around, got in my car, drove back to Publix and bought the ingredients to make some coconut shrimp.
I don't know. Maybe practice makes perfect, or maybe the coconut shrimp gods were smiling down on me, but this time, my coconut shrimp were OUTSTANDING! Seriously, every single one turned out perfectly. There wasn't one burnt, soggy or naked shrimp in the lot. I served them with a spicy pineapple/apricot sauce and watched them diasappear. Even my daughter, who doesn't care for shrimp, ate them.
It was a miracle. It was fate. It was meant to be.
On another topic, things have been a little busy here in SGCC land this week. I have been tagged with not one, not two or three, but FOUR memes! Amazing! All these months, I waited to get noticed and...nada. Now, four memes in the span of a week. I'm very flattered and excited to share a little about myself with all of you. Since coming up with some interesting information about myself will take a good, long while, I will do a meme post this weekend. I just want to let my "taggers" know that it's coming, and thank them for thinking of me. Stay tuned!
Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Pineapple-Apricot Dipping Sauce
For the dipping sauce:
1/2 cup pineapple preserves
Mix all ingredients together in a small heatproof bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and set aside.
1 cup flour
Put about 2 inches of oil in a large, deep pot. Begin heating oil to 325 degrees F. While oil is heating, prepare the shrimp as follows.
Place flour in a wide, shallow plate or baking dish.
Place eggs in a wide, shallow bowl.
Combine panko, coconut, allspice and salt in another wide, shallow plate or baking dish. Dip each shrimp in flour, coating both sides. Shake off any excess. Dip into egg mixture, allowing excess to drip off. Then, dip shrimp into panko/coconut mixture, patting it into the shrimp to stick.
Carefully, drop the shrimp into the oil, 5-6 at a time, and fry until golden brown, no more than 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Repeat until all shrimp are cooked.
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