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As we shift into spring, this dish will satisfy your craving for something light and tropical. This healthy take on coconut shrimp (baked instead of fried) is as easy as it is nutritious. The papaya salsa brings some attitude to the recipe, so much that you will be making this salsa for grilled chicken, tacos and salads.
Makes 4 servings (5 shrimp and ½ cup salsa)
1 ½ cups peeled, seeded and chopped papaya
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon Serrano or jalapeno pepper, or more for extra spice
Juice and zest of one orange
20 raw jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined and butterflied*
1 14.5 oz can light coconut milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
½ tsp salt
* Note: You can ask your fishmonger to prepare the shrimp for you, leaving the tails on. Or you can do this on your own by peeling the shrimp, leaving the tails on, and cutting the shrimp halfway through the back to butterfly so they can stand up right. Make sure to take the vein out when butterflying.
1. In a medium bowl, gently combine all of the ingredients.
2. Separate into four, half-cup servings for the shrimp.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Add the shrimp to a medium bowl, toss with the salt and then pour the coconut milk over them. Let sit for 20 minutes, or for up to 2 hours in the fridge.
3. In the meantime, set up an assembly line of 3 large plates to prepare the shrimp. Put the flour, beaten eggs, and coconut on the 3 plates, respectively.
4. Dredge the shrimp in the flour. Dip the shrimp in the egg. Coat the shrimp thoroughly with the coconut. Try to leave the tails uncoated in all steps.
5. On the baking sheet, stand the shrimp so the tails are up. Bake until the shrimp are cooked through and the coconut turns golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.
Jessica Cerra is the owner of Fit Food by Jess, a private chef and catering company in Encinitas, Calif. She is also a professional Xterra triathlete and mountain biker. Follow Jess’ recipes on her “Fit Food by Jess” Facebook page.