Crispy Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Relish

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

INGREDIENTS

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2/3 cup seltzer
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
40 extra large shrimp (21-25), about 1 1/2 pounds, peeled, deveined, tails left intact
7 cups canola or peanut oil

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine the pineapple, onion, bell pepper, jalapeno, lime juice cilantro, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a bowl; reserve.
  2. Combine 2/3 cup flour, baking soda, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and cayenne pepper in a medium bowl. Add the seltzer and egg and whisk until smooth. Place coconut in a separate bowl.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat until it registers 350°F on a thermometer. While the oil heats, working one at a time, hold the shrimp by the tail and dip it into the batter; shake to remove excess, and dip into coconut to completely coat it, pressing gently to help the coconut adhere to the shrimp. Transfer to a baking sheet and repeat with remaining shrimp.
  4. Add shrimp to the oil in batches of 8-10 and cook until golden brown and crisp, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove shrimp from oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Skim any coconut from the oil, return to 350°F and continue frying. Serve with pineapple relish.