Two years ago I was working a grueling 90 hour a week job that was ridden with stress, pressure and insanity. I only made it home at night in time to shower then sleep and start all over again. Forrest and I weren't spending any time together, I was cracking under the pressure and I had no free time at all. I never cooked, ever. One night before a big review, I decided (I have no idea why now that I look back on the situation) that I was going to make Martha Stewart's Cookie of the Month for my team to enjoy after the scrutiny we were sure to endure. It was some type of coconut cheesecake cookie bar and I asked my husband to shop for the ingredients while I was working. That way I could come home and throw them together around midnight when I planned to get off of work.
I don't know if he would have done it under any normal circumstance, but the work situation I was in probably made him more sympathetic to my needs and he went to five different stores looking for unsweetened coconut flakes. Instead of deciding to call and tell me that there was no way I would be making the treats that night he bought a whole coconut at the store and planned to open it himself. He purchased the large seed and returned home to do some research. He said he Googled "How to open a coconut" and immediately knew he was in trouble when his search results returned the picture below:
He took a "crack" at it using techniques he found on the Internet involving hardware tools, kitchen utensils and brute force. Two broken chef's knives, a well-used hammer and a few miffed neighbors later he threw in the towel. He was never able to get that coconut open , but he got LOTS of credit for his bold attempt. I later asked him what he planned to do with the coconut once it was open that would produce dried coconut flakes, and he charmingly admitted he hadn't thought that far!
Coconut Shrimp with Fiery Mango Sauce
Adapted from Cooking Light January 2010
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 7 shrimp and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 (12-ounce) can mango nectar
- 1 whole habenero pepper with the top and stem cut off, unseeded
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 28 jumbo shrimp (about 1 1/2 pounds)
- 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 large egg whites, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- Cooking spray
1. To prepare sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
bring to a boil.
Cook 10 minutes or until reduced to 3/4 cup. Remove from heat; let stand 10 minutes. Place mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Stir in juice and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
2. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact; discard shells.
3. Place coconut in a food processor;
pulse 6 times or until finely chopped. Add panko; pulse to combine. Place coconut/panko mixture in a shallow dish. Place cornstarch in a shallow dish. Place egg whites in a shallow dish. Sprinkle shrimp evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, dredge shrimp in cornstarch,
shaking off excess. Dip in egg whites;
dredge in coconut mixture.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add 7 shrimp to pan; coat tops of shrimp with cooking spray.
Cook shrimp 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until done. Repeat procedure 3 times with remaining oil and shrimp. Serve with the Mango Sauce for dipping.
**Caution: my adapted sauce recipe is extremely hot and not for anyone who doesn't pride themselves on loving blow-your-face-off spicy food. Only use 1/4 of the pepper (like Cooking Light suggests) if you are just looking for a little kick. Or leave the pepper out all together if heat isn't your thing.