Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Grapefruit-tangerine hybrid makes
for yummy salsa with coconut shrimp

It was all in the name: Tangelo.
   When I read the name of the of the citrus fruit it made me think of Jell-O because the two words rhymed, which in turn made me feel happy and want to try the recipe for Baked Coconut Shrimp with Tangelo Salsa (click for the recipe).
   Truth be told, it wasn’t just the name. First, I’d always wanted to try making coconut shrimp at home, and the recipe looked like a good one.
   Second, I saw tangelos in the grocery store one day, cementing my decision to give the recipe a try. (Tangerines can be substituted, by the way).
   A tangelo is a hybrid between a tangerine and a pomelo or grapefruit. The type of tangelo I used, a Minneola, is cross between a grapefruit and tangerine.
   The shrimp and salsa turned out very well.
   The shrimp was covered with a perfect amount of coconut, and the salsa was a fresh, bright accompaniment.
   Rather than serving them as appetizers, my husband and I ate the shrimp and salsa for supper with a side of jasmine rice. Make sure to heap lots of salsa on each of the shrimp before you eat them – the combination of tastes is part of the allure of the dish.
    The shrimp is cooked using an excellent technique which ensures they are properly cooked and don’t have coconut falling off everywhere when they are removed from the pan and then eaten.
  The shrimp are butterflied by cutting halfway through the back to the tail. The shrimp is dredged in a flour mixture, then stood tail-up on a baking sheet.
   We followed the recipe’s advice and used unsweetened coconut. Make sure also to use large shrimp (21-25 per pound) as the recipe says, as anything smaller will be much more difficult to butterfly.
The recipe is easy to make.
   The tangelos or tangerines, red bell pepper, a scallion (also called a green onion or spring onion), jalapeno pepper and salt are combined in a food processor or blender and pulsed to form a chunky salsa. (We skipped the cilantro, which we hate!)
   Eggs are beaten in one dish; flour, paprika and garlic powder are combined in another dish; and unsweetened shredded (or desiccated) coconut and salt are combined in a third dish.
   The shrimp is peeled and deveined, but the tail is left on (we skipped this step by using pre-peeled and deveined shrimp with the tail left on). After the shrimp is butterflied, it is dredged in the flour mixture, dipped in the egg then coated with coconut. The shrimp is stood tail-up on a baking sheet.
   The shrimp is baked until cooked through and the coating is starting to brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
   Serve the cooked shrimp with the salsa.

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