Crunchy coconut shrimp are sort of a secret treat for me. I don’t eat at a lot of chain restaurants, but there are a few that really excel and I make the occasional visit to sample them. The first time I had coconut shrimp years ago, I was attending the trial run of a chain restaurant opening its first branch in town. The night was a real disaster…the waiters were not ready, there were problems with the lighting and the piped in music. One of the bathrooms hadn’t been finished and the bar wasn’t opened. But the shrimp sure were good.
I generally can’t be bothered with frying at home and this baked version is a bit healthier…leaving room for this creamy tequila lime sauce. I think it adds a little Cinco de Mayo tropical flair to the crispy shrimp. Serve these as a starter to a larger Mexican meal, or make this the main with some rice with lime and cilantro stirred through. Pop open a cold beer with a slice of lime and celebrate.
- 1 ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound large shrimp (26- 30 count), peeled, deveined, tails intact
- 1 egg
- ½ cup tequila
- 6 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 3 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 ½ Tablespoon chopped cilantro
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- Stir the panko, coconut and salt together in a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat. Stirring and flipping the crumbs constantly, toast until evenly golden brown. Be careful not to burn the coating. Spread the crumbs on a plate and leave to cool.
- Place a rack in a rimmed baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Beat the egg with 2 teaspoons of water in a small bowl until blended. Pat the shrimp dry, then dip by the tail in the egg. Place the shrimp in the crumbs and press to coat each side fully. Place each bread shrimp on the prepared rack.
- Bake the shrimp for 10 – 12 minutes until opaque and cooked through.
- While the shrimp are cooking, stir the tequila, cream, lime juice, zest and cilantro together in a medium skillet. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until reduced by half and thickened. Stir the butter in a piece at a time, stirring to melt after each addition.
- Serve the shrimp immediately drizzled with the sauce, or with the sauce on the side as a dip.