JENNIFER CHANDLER/SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Get creative with the dipping sauces you serve alongside the shrimp.
Coconut Shrimp has always been one of my favorites at restaurants. However, I had never made it at home for a couple of reasons.
First, I am not a fan of the mess and smell of deep frying. And more important, fried food is an indulgence I try to limit to special occasions.
One night, my daughter asked me to make this treat for her at home, so I started brainstorming about how to make a healthier and easier version. In the past, I had used panko bread crumbs, french fried onions and even crushed corn flakes when making oven-fried chicken, so I decided to try that same technique with shrimp. I was thrilled to discover how well this oven-fried trick worked with shrimp.
Both panko bread crumbs and french fried onions give this coconut shrimp the desired crunchy coating without deep frying. What is also nice about this dish is it can be one of your go-to recipes for a last-minute supper.
Most of the dry ingredients for coconut shrimp are pantry staples that store well. Frozen shrimp are handy for all sorts of last-minute meals. And coconut stores beautifully in the freezer. I keep a stash primarily to throw in muffins or seven- layer bars, or for dishes like this.
Dipping sauces are an easy fix, too. Just look in your fridge. Always have good-quality condiments on hand to dress up your meals. For this shrimp dish, I'd probably serve a ramekin of a sweet and sour chili sauce or a honey mustard dipping sauce.
Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). She lives in East Memphis with her husband and two daughters. For more recipes , visit cookwithjennifer.com.
Crunchy Coconut Shrimp
11/3 cups french fried onions or panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 egg whites, beaten
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the french fried onions or panko bread crumbs and coconut in a plastic bag. Lightly crush the mixture with your hands or a rolling pin. Transfer to a pie plate or waxed paper. Place the flour in another plastic bag. Add the shrimp and shake to coat. Dip the shrimp in the egg whites. Coat with the coconut mixture, pressing firmly to adhere. Bake the shrimp for 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are fully cooked and crispy. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Serves 4.