Have you ever had to whip up a quick dish or meal for last minute guests? It’s always good to have one or two go-to recipes under your belt for those days. I had an impromptu cocktail party the other night and needed a delicious and fun appetizer that would appeal to everyone and wouldn’t take too much time to prepare. After a quick search through my pantry and freezer, I decided to go with coconut shrimp. They’re the perfect appetizer for entertaining- they’re easy to pick up, you can eat them in one bite and most importantly, they taste great!
The coating for coconut shrimp is usually made with a mixture of breadcrumbs and shredded coconut. Instead of using breadcrumbs, I decided to use Breton crackers. Made with all natural, wholesome ingredients, Breton crackers are very versatile- they’re great for serving at parties or just for everyday snacking. They have a nice crispy texture and come in a variety of flavors- even my toddler enjoys snacking on them. The folks at Breton sent me four types of their gluten free crackers to sample. All of them were delicious and all are certified gluten-free by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness Gluten-Free Certification Program.
I used the White Bean with Salt & Pepper Crackers, which are made mainly from navy beans. Each serving contains two grams of fiber and two grams of protein. They’re also low in saturated fat, contain no artificial colors or flavors, no cholesterol and are trans-fat free.
When I ground the crackers into crumbs, I was impressed by their light and delicate texture. The combination of the ground crackers and shredded coconut worked perfectly to coat the shrimp after a quick dip in some gluten-free flour and eggs. Instead of using sweetened coconut like many recipes do, I used natural, unsweetened coconut and paired the shrimp with a sweet sauce made with apricot preserves.
Traditionally coconut shrimp are deep-fried but I baked mine in the oven instead. Rather than slaving over a hot stove frying batches of shrimp, I simply popped them in the oven and finished getting ready for my party. Don’t worry, you’ll still get a light, crispy, golden exterior with the oven-baked method and it’s a whole lot healthier!
Needless to say my guests loved the dish and everyone wanted the recipe! The only thing I’ll change the next time I make this dish will be to double the recipe because the shrimp were gone in a flash. Plus, if you do have any leftovers, you can always freeze them and pop them in the oven to reheat for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Enjoy!
Baked Coconut Shrimp (Gluten-Free)
Makes 10 appetizer servings
18 Breton white bean with salt & pepper crackers (1 cup ground)
½ cup gluten-free flour (like tapioca, rice or coconut flour)
1 large egg plus 1 egg white
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (2.5 oz)
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil like safflower or grapeseed
1 ½ pounds extra large shrimp (26/30)
Kosher salt and black pepper
Sweet and Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce:
1 cup apricot preserves
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon dried chili flakes
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place the crackers in a food processor and process until they are ground into crumbs. Alternatively, you can place the crackers in a resealable plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin.
Set up a breading station. Place the flour in a shallow dish. Whisk the eggs together in a second dish. Mix the crushed crackers, coconut and oil together in a third dish, distributing the oil throughout the mixture.
Season the shrimp with a couple of pinches of salt and pepper. Working in batches, dip the shrimp in the flour. Shake off the excess flour and then dip them in the egg. Finally, dredge them in the cracker/coconut mixture, pressing the mixture onto the shrimp so that it adheres.
Place the shrimp in a single layer on one or two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake, turning once halfway through, until shrimp are cooked and topping is golden, 15-16 minutes.
While the shrimp are in the oven, heat the apricot preserves, vinegar and chili flakes in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook a few minutes until preserves are melted.
Serve shrimp with apricot dipping sauce.
One serving (about 4 shrimp with 1 tablespoon sauce): Calories 234; Fat 9.2g (Sat 5.2g); Protein 12.4g; Carb 24.5g; Fiber 2.3g; Sodium 450mg
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.