When I was a kid growing up in northern Indiana, my mother and her business partner owned a wonderful shop called Feather Your Nest. She and her partner sold furniture, antiques, accessories for every part of your house. It was in an old house and each room was decorated in a different style. I used to work there on Saturdays. They would take me with them to the New York gift show every year. This would have been the late 60’s early 70’s, the bubble umbrella era. Yes, I had one complete with white go-go boots. That is when I knew I would live in New York (which I did for 11 years).
I was 10 years old and only ate hot dogs, fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, fried shrimp, plain (meat and bun only) McDonald’s hamburgers and spaghetti with Ragu (as in the brand) sauce. I’m sure I cramped their style during these trips. We ate in coffee shops and one of my favorite places was at Bloomingdale’s where I would order chicken pot pie (I forgot to mention that I ate this) and an enormous blueberry muffin. Sadly, this particular eatery in Bloomingdale’s no longer exists.
One night they wanted to go somewhere “fancy” and we went to the restaurant in the CBS building on 6th Avenue. I was feeling very uneasy about this meal. Fortunately, I found fried shrimp on the menu! Well, what I didn’t know is that it was Coconut Fried Shrimp! I will never forget the feeling of total and complete devastation! How could they RUIN good shrimp with coconut! It’s a meal that for some reason sticks in my mind. The other day I ran across this recipe. I now can eat it without wanting to break down into tears. My palate has developed at bit since The Ed Sullivan Show was airing.
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp finely grated lime zest
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
18 uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
Canola oil (for frying)
Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix panko, coconut, lime peel, salt, and pepper in medium shallow bowl. Whisk eggs in another medium bowl to blend. Add shrimp to bowl with beaten eggs and toss to coat. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, remove shrimp from beaten eggs and turn to coat in panko mixture. Place shrimp on prepared baking sheet.
NOTE: Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.
Pour enough oil into large skillet to reach depth of ¼ inch; heat over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add shrimp to skillet and cook until golden and just opaque in center, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Arrange shrimp on platter and serve warm.