Baked COCONUT Maple Syrup SHRIMP

The shorelines of the Gulf Coast brought on
a craving for baked Coconut Shrimp.


Not any of the classic coconut breaded dishes of course.

Only my baked and succulent Maple syrup flavoured crustaceans.

As most of you must have figured out from my last post...

my unexpected and very unplanned time-out led me mostly to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida.  

A short while ago, my god-mother took me by surprise one evening. 

She informed me that her friend’s waterfront condo was going to be vacant for 2 weeks in May.

I truly had no idea where she was going with this. 

In that instant, I thought she was announcing that she'd be going there herself. 

I couldn't have been further from the truth. 

She was actually coaxing me to pick up and leave everything. 

I could only wonder why she had been so worried about me. 

Did I not look great when she had seen me the week before?   

There I was thinking that I was holding it together well and that I still looked pretty good ;o)  

I guess, I'll be needing those glasses sooner than I thought.

Her offer, although incredibly heart-warming, stumped me and rendered me unusually speechless. 

The proposal came on a Sunday night...and the plane tickets were purchased two days later.

Believe it or not, I was actually thinking of turning down her very generous offer. 

Did I mention, I have a very difficult time accepting favours or gifts?!?

Anyhow, after scrambling to get my schedule in sync with Hubby...I ended up forging through and made the best of a very last minute escape.

Although, not our desired French Polynesian dream vacation...the trip out to Florida was very welcomed.
It took me a while to wrap my mind around the fact that I picked up and left everything behind.

Abandoning responsibilities was incredibly out of character for me. 

I guess the entering of the mid-phase of my hopefully appreciating years ... have indirectly forced me to accept making major life-style changes.

When we arrived to the coast, we were received with a glorious sunny day. 

Not so...for what was waiting in the wings for the following two weeks.

Through three fairly strong windy rain storms, we still managed to extract a few good vacation-style moments. 

The peaceful sunsets were there to remind us of the wondrous images that are offered for free.

We certainly were constantly reminded to count our blessings.

We were luckily not victims of the incredibly tragic tornado and flood disasters.

We also ended up finding out that the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary was a very close neighbour. 

This permitted us to witness Seabird species that we had never had the pleasure to appreciate before.

This sanctuary is the largest wild bird hospital in the U.S. based on the admission of over 8,000 injured birds each year.

It took in thousands of injured birds from the horrendous BP oil spill. 

Their dedicated (mostly volunteer) staff assisted with the bird rescue and rehabilitation mission in the Florida panhandle.

One of the Sanctuary’s biggest success stories is the captive breeding of the Eastern Brown Pelican.

Since the ecosystem's petroleum spill crisis, the significant loss of pelicans had become very disturbing. 
Therefore, it was quite heart-warming to witness some very lively and energetic, healthy Pelicans actively living their routines of playing and always eating.

Did you know that Pelicans devour at least four pounds of fish everyday?
It always did fascinate me how they catch and gobble their very generous helpings.  
Hubby, especially gets a kick out of seeing them dive with a satisfactory mouthful expression.
They are truly an interesting breed...hopefully they'll once more thrive and prosper.

Other than the usual Western Seagulls, there were several interesting nesting colonies.
These groups of Seabirds could always counted on for entertainment as well.
Between the synchronized singing and dancing...there was never a boring moment.

A group of odd-looking Black Skimmers, collectively known as a ‘scoop‘ ... ‘embezzlement’ or a ‘conspiracy’ of skimmers, admittedly entertained and intrigued me the most. 

Seeing them in action as they skimmed the water and scooped up their prey with their bright red with black tip bills, was nothing short of captivating.

Then, there were the very amusing looking and very complacent Sandwich Terns. 
Their very peculiar short Mohawk-style black crowns were somewhat fashionable.
When we passed them by the shoreline, they were not impressed and had no interest of moving out of the way either.   Hey, who was on vacation here?

Here's my 'Snowy Egret'...a.k.a. 'Egretta Thula' with her beautiful, yellow padded feet.   This is the one bird I related to the most. 

There she was...not lonely...but very alone in her little space. 
I felt her contemplating, as I've been about the blessing of life she'd been given. What was she going to do with what was left of her life?   
Hmmm...before another year passed and the same question would come to haunt her...she had better figure it out. 
Good luck my sweet Egretta ;o)

All and all, I had time to reflect on most of what has been heavily weighing on me.
Gradually, some difficult decisions will have to be put into action. 

This will include a home move sometime within the next two months.

I'm really hoping to be able to keep up with our common culinary journeys.
As you can already imagine...
there will be another blogging break eventually.
Hopefully, not too much of an extended one ;o)

For now, here's a little more about one of my favourite delectable seafood discoveries...

PINK SHRIMP...a.k.a. Gulf shrimp...Florida pinks.

Since Shrimp is one of the most popular seafood in the United States...

it is good to know that it is a naturally renewable and sustainable resource. 

Most shrimp spawn offshore in deep water from early spring through early fall.   They reproduce rapidly with one female shrimp releasing thousands of eggs, which are attached to her swimming legs and later hatch within 24 hours.  Young shrimp are carried by currents into coastal estuaries to mature.   When water temperatures are warm, shrimp grow very fast.   As the shrimp grow, they move gradually seaward returning to the ocean to spawn.   The average life cycle of a shrimp is only 13 months or less. Shrimp grow very quickly.  They often have to shed their old shells to grow new ones so the fit is better.


. Besides being an excellent source of high-quality protein...it is actually low in saturated fat, carbohydrates and calories.

.  If you’re concerned about Cholesterol...the worry may be over exaggerated...you be the judge.

After some serious studies, shrimp was found to be lower in cholesterol versus eggs.  The shrimp diet did raise LDL levels (bad cholesterol) by 7%, but also raised HDL levels (good cholesterol) by 12%. In contrast, the egg diet raised LDL levels by 10% and HDL by 7%.   The results then showed that the shrimp diet produced significantly lower ratios of total to HDL ("good") cholesterol and lower ratios of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) to HDL cholesterol than the egg diet.  In addition, in people who ate the shrimp diet, levels of triglycerides (a form in which fat is carried in the blood) decreased 13%.

.  Shrimp also emerged as a very good source of vitamin D and vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 is one of the nutrients needed to keep levels of homocysteine, a molecule that can directly damage blood vessel walls and is considered a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, low.   In just a four-ounce serving of shrimp, you'll receive 28.2% of the daily value for vitamin B12.
. In addition, shrimp are also a good source of selenium as well as cardio-protective omega-3 fatty acids, noted for their anti-inflammatory effects and ability to prevent the formation of blood clots. Four ounces of shrimp provide 14.8% of your daily need for these protective fats.
After having tasted the very tender and sweet 'Pink Shrimp' from the Gulf coast of Florida,

I developed a slight obsession when having a craving for this particular crustacean.

The wild-caught ‘Florida pinks‘, are actually pretty in their brownish-pink raw state. 

They only turn to a slightly deeper shade of pink when cooked.  

The meat is white with pink skin tones, firm texture holding a mild, sweet flavour. Yum.

They are the largest shrimp species to be caught.
They can actually reach 11 inches and can live up to 24 months.
Their feeding ground in the coral sand off the west coast of Florida...
gives them their distinctive color and a sweet, creamy flavour.
This makes them a favourite with chefs and shrimp lovers world wide.

Hmmm...the month of May was apparently peak harvest season.
Why then, wasn’t I having an easier time finding these delicacies in their fresh state?

You can only imagine my disappointment when I was continuously turned down about Floridian 'Pink Shrimp' from most restaurant menus.   Unless, it was a high-end place...most of the shrimp came from anywhere else but the Florida. 
Apparently, most shrimp is imported and only a mere 10% of the shrimp consumed in the United States come from its U.S. sources.   I was shocked at finding out about this very regrettable reality.   Not only are most people missing out on a very particular delicacy...a lot of men and women are cheated of their livelihood.   Afterwards, I was forever making a point to buy 'Pink Shrimp'...primarily for selfish, tasty reasons, but certainly to encourage the local shrimp catchers.
One Shrimp dish that happened to be on most of the West Coast's seafood menus was the specialty of Coconut Fried Shrimp.   I did indulge in fried food...especially since I was on a holiday and that meant I could be bad with my meal choices.   Well, after two days of indulging...my tummy revolted and I was back to being reasonable again.

That meant, that if I wanted to enjoy Coconut Shrimp...
I would have to bake them myself as to get back to my healthier habits.

Baked COCONUT Maple Syrup SHRIMP
served on a bed of baked orange BEETS along side salty/sweet KALE chips

serves 2 for a main meal or 4 for entrées

Click HERE for a PRINTER friendly version

(American / Metric measures)

. 12 xLarge Shrimps, peeled with tail on
. 1 egg white *
. 1 tbsp. (15ml) Maple syrup
. 1/8 tsp. (0.5ml) 'Fleur d'ail' * (garlic flower) 
. 1/8 tsp. (0.5ml) sea salt
. pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

. 1/8 cup (10g) unsweetened coconut, shredded
. 1/2 cup (40g) cereal *, crushed

. pinch of the following dried herbs: marjoram, sage, tarragon

* Alternatives: 
Egg white can be replaced by 1/8 cup (30ml) of plain yogurt.
- ‘Fleur d’ail’ can be replaced by a very small garlic clove, crushed.
-Cereal can be replaced by 1/2 cup (40g) of breaded crumb.


Pre-heat at 400F/200C/Gas6

Position rack on the 2nd level from the bottom of oven.

Prepare a regular baking pan lined with parchment paper.

1. Prepare the shrimp by holding the tail while cutting its inward curve and gently removing the shell around its body.   Also make a very shallow cut down the outer curve in order to clean out the digestive tract.   Rinse with cold water.   Leave the tail part attached for decorative appeal. When cleaned, set the shrimp aside in a bowl of cold water while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut, cereal and dried herbs.   Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg white and add the syrup, garlic, salt and cayenne pepper.
4. Drain the shrimp and lightly pat dry with a paper towel.   Place them into the bowl holding the liquid mix. Turn and coat well.
5. Holding each shrimp by the tail...dredge and roll each individually into the coconut cereal mix and place them slightly separated for even baking on the lined pan.   Note: the cut, back side curve of the shrimp should be placed downwards. Lightly push down as they flatten and the tail end curls inwards.
6. Bake for no more than 9-10 minutes.   Also note: If making this recipe with 6 pieces of TIGER shrimp...bake for about 11-12 minutes only.   Enjoy.

I do hope you get a chance to make this delicious twist on a Gulf coast specialty.  
I promise, you won't miss the fried variety one bit.
Your hips will thank me later ;o)

Have a wonderful week everyone.
I’m thrilled to finally be back with all of you.

Flavourful wishes,

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Please note: the information text in purple was loosely referenced from these sites:
. whfoods.com.......and foodreference.com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Other Fish and Seafood recipes that may interest you:
- BASA fish fillet stuffed Pindjur rolls
- Calamari (Squid...cuttlefish) Olive Crimini Tomato Linguini
- FISH stuffed FILLET rolls with goat CHEESE roasted TOMATO
- MUSSELS fennel Sambuca ROQUEFORT
- SEAFOOD Splurge with ARTICHOKE Salad