Panko Crusted Coconut Shrimp

To celebrate my husband’s promotion yesterday, I wanted to make something special for dinner that we don’t get to have often. I have a weakness for shrimp and have been craving it for weeks, so really, this was a win-win situation.

My automatic “go to” for shrimp is to serve it over a bed of linguine in a garlicky white wine or scampi sauce BUT I am trying to avoid pasta as much as it kills me, so I arrived at an alternative. I actually bought shredded coconut a few months ago specifically with either a coconut shrimp or chicken in mind and then never used it so I didn’t even have to stray outside my pantry for the ingredients (which are only a few anyway!). The original recipe came from Skinnytaste (again) but I changed the amounts, the size of the shrimp, and didn’t make the dipping sauce as this was for a main dish.

This can either be served as an appetizer with a sweet dipping sauce OR as a main course like we did. It’s quite simple to whip up so if you are feeling a little fancy and want to give yourself or your loved ones a treat, try this out. This was a special occasion so we allowed ourselves a meal that was a little less healthy than usual, but sometimes you have to do that when celebrating!

We get mixed messages about shrimp in the health world and like most things, they aren’t for everybody. They are not the best choice for individuals concerned with their cholesterol BUT, if you have no issue with your cholesterol levels, shrimp are low in calories, a good source of protein and omega-3s, and contain a high concentration of nutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The chart below shows the nutritional content of 4 ounces worth of shrimp (approx. 10 shrimp in a 40-count package).

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb large shrimp (40-count package), peeled and deveined [fresh or frozen]
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp flour (you won’t use all of this)
  • 1 egg
  • pinch of salt
  • cooking spray (olive oil is best)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. If you are using frozen shrimp, defrost by placing in a strainer and running cool water over it. Remove shells/tails/veins if they have not been removed already.
  3. Coat large baking sheet with thin layer of non-stick cooking spray, preferably olive oil.
  4. You will have 3 separate bowls: 1. In bowl #1: combine coconut, breadcrumbs, and salt, 2. In bowl #2: flour, 3. In bowl #3: scramble your egg.
  5. With shrimp in your strainer, sprinkle some salt over them and toss. In batches, place shrimp in bowl of flour and lightly toss to coat. Then dip flour-coated shrimp in egg. Transfer shrimp from egg to your crumb-coconut mixture to coat. Lastly, place shrimp on coated baking sheet. Repeat until all shrimp has been dipped in flour, egg, and then breaded.
  6. Once on the baking sheet, spray a thin layer of your olive oil cooking spray over the shrimp.
  7. Bake in the middle of your oven for 10 minutes. Remove and turn shrimp over and cook an additional 6-7 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy! It pairs great with a nice crisp salad!

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