Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rosie Makes Coconut Fried Shrimp And You Better Believe It Was Good.

My freezers are almost overflowing with meats bought on sale and Mr. Hawthorne continues to buy more. It's gotten to the point where I can't find stuff anymore because there's TOO MUCH STUFF. (Mr. Hawthorne is a sucker for sales.) So the other night, I told him we had to use up what's in the freezers. No more buying until I clear out some of this meat. For our dinner last Tuesday, he followed my caveat. We found a couple bags of shrimp and some stuffed jalapeno poppers left over from way back when.
Here's a peak at what's to come: fried shrimp, coconut fried shrimp, and fried jalapeno poppers, served with a ketchup/horseradish cocktail sauce and my special dipping sauce I made up.
First, my beer batter for the shrimp.
My mise en place for the batter: 1 1/2 cups flour 1/4 cup buttermilk 1 egg 1 1/4 cups beer salt and pepper
I mixed the flour, salt, and pepper, and added in the buttermilk.
Added in the beer ...
... and the egg. Stir until smooth.
Oh ... But wait. What shrimp batter couldn't benefit from a bit of lemon zest?
I used the zest of 1 whole lemon.
Shrimp, jalapeno poppers, beer batter, and coconut. Everything's ready to go, but first I want a dipping sauce for the shrimp. My main ingredients: orange marmalade honey Tamari soy sauce I used a tablespoon of each, but you could adjust according to your own tastes. I tasted this and it needed something else ...
... another layer of flavors. Large garlic clove and a piece of ginger a little bigger than the garlic. I minced the garlic and added that to my dipping sauce. As for the ginger, here's a Rosie Tip #229: Always keep ginger root in your freezer. That way, you'll always have it on hand. And it never goes bad. I hated going to the fridge to cut off a ginger chunk and finding nothing but a sad, rotting, shriveled up piece of unfortunance. Another great thing about keeping ginger in the freeze is that you're able to juice it. When I take the frozen ginger out, I nuke it for about 20-30 seconds depending on the size. The texture totally changes upon nuking, and you can squeeze the juice out with your fingers. I added the ginger joos to my dipping sauce, then minced the leftover pulp and added that.
Another taste test. And I decided to slice a scallion and add that. Another layer of flavor. Another taste test and a final layer. A little maraschino cherry joos. Mission accomplished.
One of the main problems in frying is that people don't get their oil hot enough or they put too much food in, crowding the meat, and lowering the temperature of the oil, and ending up with a not crispy, grease-laden product. One of the ways to tell if your oil is hot enough if you don't have a thermometer (350-375 degrees) is to stick a wooden handle into the hot oil. If bubbles come vigorously out of the wood, then the oil is hot enough.
Drop the battered shrimp in the hot oil one by one.
About 45 - 60 seconds and the shrimp are ready.
This next batch I dipped in the batter, then dredged in the coconut.
Jalapenos went into the batter.
Fry until nicely browned.
And drain on paper towels.
Here's our dinner. Cocktail sauce at bottom left: ketchup horseradish, to taste (I like it to clear out my sinuses and bring tears to my eyes.) lemon juice Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce Mix to your own tastes. Fried shrimp, fried coconut shrimp, fried jalapeno poppers, lemon. My "layered" dipping sauce.
I loved this. My batter was a fusion of flavors - the malty, yeasty, earthiness of the beer, the tartness of the buttermilk, the brightness of the lemon zest. Top that with the sweetness of the coconut. And add to that the flavors of the dipping sauce. The sweetness of the marmalade, honey, and cherry juice, combined with the pungency of the garlic and ginger, and the umami of the Tamari all combined to create a wonderfully flavorful sauce that complemented the fried shrimp, especially the coconut shrimp, perfectly.

1 comment:

Donna-FFW said...

I LOVE coconut shrimp. I always order this dish at the Wharfside, an off the water restarurant/bar in Point Pleasant NJ. It is coconut shrimp over a spinach sald with mandarin oranges and a raspberry viniagrette. Your shrimp and dipping sauce sounds delicious!