|Coconut Shrimp Lollypops with Apricot-Ginger Dipping Sauce
(makes 12 lollypops, serving 4-6 as an appetizer)
Coconut Shrimp Lollypops
1 coconut, or 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
Pierce the soft eye of the coconut and drain the coconut water. Reserve. Smash the center of the coconut against the edge of a concrete step until it cracks in half.
Take the half with the holes and separate the coconut meat from the shell. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the brown skin from the meat. Using the medium-fine part of your grater, shred 2 cups of coconut.
Pour coconut water in a measuring cup and if necessary top off with beer until you have 3/4 cup of liquid. Reserve. If using store-bought shredded coconut (and consequently don’t have any coconut water) simply use 3/4 cup of beer.
In a large bowl, combine flour, coconut water/beer mixture, baking soda, salt, cayenne and egg. Beat until smooth. Add a bit more flour or beer, if necessary, so that the mixture has the consistency of thick pancake batter.
Tightly wrap each shrimp like a pinwheel (with the tail of the shrimp on the outside) and skewer one shrimp on the end of each skewer, starting at the tail, so that it stays pinwheeled. Use a paper towel to pat dry the shrimp.
Pour oil into a small, tall pot until it’s two inches deep. Heat oil to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. (See oil dissertation below.)
While the oil is heating, dip each shrimp into the batter, then dredge in the coconut shreds so the entire “lollypop” is covered in coconut.
When oil is ready, submerge four shrimp at a time into oil (with the skewers sticking out of the pot). Fry approximately one minute, or until coconut is a golden brown, rotating the top of the skewer once or twice. Remove and place pops on paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Skim any wayward coconut shreds from the oil. Adjust heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit again and continue with next batch. Serve with dipping sauce. For a creative presentation, stick skewers into a pineapple or melon half and/or serve dip in the remaining coconut half.
1/2 cup of apricot jam
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth
An important note on cooking with oil
Oil temperature is very important. If it’s too high, food burns. Too low? Food turns out greasy. If you don’t have a thermometer, stick a 1/2-inch cube of bread on a skewer and dip it in the oil. If the oil bubbles, but the bread doesn’t brown, continue heating the oil. If the bread browns instantly, the oil temperature is too high. If the bread turns into a golden crouton in 5 to 10 seconds, you’re set to fry.
Hot oil is very dangerous. If you leave it unattended, don’t bring my name up at the trial. The best way to put out an oil fire (God forbid) is to smother it with a tightly fitting lid.