Coconut Shrimp & Garlic Smashed Potatoes with Orange Marmalade

Coconut Shrimp

There’s something about ordering shrimp off of a restaurant’s appetizer menu that inevitably ends in your dinner party’s disappointment in fried and greasy popcorn shrimp, rubbery cocktail shrimp, or – my personal least-favorite – the “starter” dish for your party of four that arrives with four actual shrimps on the plate, approximately eighty percent of which is composed of garnishes and dipping sauces.

To quote one of my favorite films, Forrest Gump, “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea.” It’s such a versatile seafood treasure that you can only improve upon it by adding more delectable ingredients. This family recipe for coconut shrimp, straight out of South Florida, will ensure that you are never let down by an appetizer menu again. Dress these up with a side dish for a complete dinner or date night, or enjoy as a stand-alone appetizer.

What are you waiting for? Turn on some Jimmy Buffet tunes, pair these little guys with a tropical dipping sauce, dream of swimming pools and beach barbeques, and you might even forget that it’s already April and there’s still snow on the ground in the Northeast. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Coconut Shrimp

1 bag of fresh (or frozen) peeled and deveined shrimp (contains approximately 30-35 shrimp)
1 canister of Progresso Italian-Style breadcrumbs (24 oz.)
1 container of grated parmesan cheese
1 bag of shredded coconut (found in most baking aisles)
2 eggs
1 bottle of olive oil 

In a small bowl, beat the two eggs thoroughly.

Then, show those shrimp as much love as Forrest did! Whether frozen or fresh, white shrimp or tiger shrimp are recommended over other varieties to maximize flavor and texture. Once the shrimp have been peeled and deveined, immerse them in the egg and completely coat them. This will help the breadcrumb coat stick.

On a separate plate, combine 2-3 cups of Progresso Italian-Style breadcrumbs (add more as needed), 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and 1 – 1 ½ cups of shredded coconut. When the mixture is thoroughly sifted, dip the shrimp and completely coat both sides. Place a thin layer of olive oil on the bottom of a frying pan, and bring the heat up to a slow but steady simmer as you insert the shrimp into the oil. When the shrimp are done cooking, the breading and the coconut will be a crisp dark brown, and the shrimp will have transformed into a whitish-pinkish hue. Let stand a minute before serving.

Garlic Smashed Potatoes

1 bag of red potatoes
1 bud of garlic (the amount of cloves will depend on your personal preference)
4-5 tablespoons of butter or margarine
1 container of grated parmesan cheese or shredded cheddar cheese
1 bundle of green onions

In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, and add 6-8 red potatoes (depending on size), or most of the bag, after they have been cut into quarters for easier cooking. While the potatoes cook, take the butter or margarine out of the refrigerator to soften, and prep the garlic bud by peeling and preparing as many cloves as desired. For this portion of smashed potatoes, I would recommend a minimum of 2-3 cloves to get a true “garlicky” taste, but no more than 4-5 cloves, lest the flavor become overpowering. Crush the garlic, or mince it, to make sure that it will spread throughout the smashed potatoes.

When the red potatoes have become soft and are fully cooked, remove them from the pot. In a large bowl, mash the potatoes (leave the skins on) with a fork or a potato masher. As the consistency becomes more whipped, fold in the garlic, the butter, and a few handfuls of cheese to increase the flavor. Top with chopped green onions for the full effect.

Tropical Marmalade

½ cup of orange marmalade or orange-mango marmalade
2 tablespoons of dark rum (if desired)

Feel free to procure some simple marmalade from your local grocery store, it will do the trick. If you’d like to get a bit fancier, heat up the marmalade in a saucepan and thin it out with the rum.

Post and Recipe by Stephanie Cohen. Photo by