LUCY BURDETTE: I am so excited about this new book hitting shelves this week! So of course, I spent a long time thinking about what recipe would be festive enough for the launch of DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS.
First I looked at the recipes in the back of the book. But you'd already seen Chef Edel's cheesy polenta with spring vegetables and Parmesan crisps, as well as the decadent Key lime parfaits, and Hayley's mom's spaghetti Bolognese recipe. Obviously, a recipe for hot dog casserole was not up to the big day, LOL. (Though I did get some fan mail last week in which a reader told me her husband had already made that dish and the whole family gave it a thumbs up!)
Then it hit me – coconut shrimp! In the fifth Key West mystery, Hayley's mom is working as a caterer at Small Chef at Large for the winter season. (Based on the real-life Jennifer Cornell.) During one of the scenes, they are preparing coconut shrimp for a wedding:
My mother, swathed in a white apron, stood before an eight-burner gas range, fishing shrimp out of boiling oil and placing them on paper towels to drain.
“It smells wonderful in here,” I said. “What’s on the docket tonight?”
“It’s a wedding at the Oldest House on Duval Street,” Mom said. “The bride is a woman after my own heart—after choosing her man, she’s focused her heart and pocketbook on the menu.” Mom clapped her hands. All business.
“Will you taste this sauce, honey?” she asked, clip-clopping across the kitchen in her green clogs to grab two bowls of dipping sauce. “Jennifer usually serves the coconut shrimp with mango chutney, but I was thinking something a little more spicy and Asian might be a fabulous contrast.”
She handed me a small plate containing a piping-hot shrimp coated in a crispy coconut crust.
So here's my attempt to replicate that recipe and celebrate the new book.
Ingredients (dinner for two people, hors d'oeuvres for four)
1/4 pound large Key West pink shrimp, peeled and deveined (You may leave the tails on for a little extra visual oomph)
1/2 cup flour
One egg, beaten
1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut, with more as needed
Vegetable oil (I use canola)
Prepare the shrimp by washing and peeling and deveining, and then pat them dry. Prepare three shallow bowls, one for the flour, one for the beaten egg, and the third for the coconut. (If you notice in the photo with the raw shrimp, the ones on top are Argentine pinks, while on the bottom are the Key West local pinks. We preferred those!)
Dip the shrimp in flour, then egg, and finally coconut, and set them on a plate until you have prepared all of them.
Now heat the vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed skillet. When the oil is hot, fry them several at a time until they are crispy and brown. This will only take a few minutes.
I served the shrimp with two sauces, one simple mango chutney from a jar.
The other, a combination of 2 tablespoons of Thai sweet chili sauce mixed with 2 tablespoons of orange marmalade.
If you plan to serve these for dinner, add white rice and a green salad.
DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS can be found wherever books are sold.
And big congrats to my MLK sisters, Krista Davis for THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER and Cleo Coyle for ONCE UPON A GRIND!
DON'T FORGET: Mysteries make great stocking stuffers!