I've always been a pecan lover, even before I knew what a healthy fat was and that pecans were full of them.
I can remember collecting pecans from the pecan tree in our river house yard as a child. We used to set up brown paper bags and made a game out of tossing the pecans into the bags. The fun part came when you got to crack open the pecans and eat them for a snack. Clearly, I'm easily amused.
As I got older, I realized that pecans were full of fat and a concentrated source of calories and that I probably should not eat them with the reckless abandon that I did as a child.
That didn't stop my love for them though. In fact, I almost always have shelled pecans in my freezer and for good reason. Pecans are an excellent source of manganese, a good source of copper, thiamine and fiber and are also high in flavonoids and phytosterols. One ounce of pecans — about 19 pecan halves or 1/4 cup — is about 200 calories and has 20g fat, with the majority being monounsaturated (or healthy) fat.
I recently decided to use pecans as a breading for some shrimp, adding coconut flakes as well for tons of flavor. I find it easier to coat — and have the coating stick — if the coating is finer, so I like to process some of the coconut flakes with the pecans. Just make sure that you don't process the pecans into a nut butter.
While these are super flavorful and delicious on their own, I made an easy Chipotle Ketchup for good measure. Just stir together ketchup, one minced chipotle pepper, and a little bit of honey. Do this before you start the shrimp so it has time to develop good flavor. The spicy and slightly sweet kick of the ketchup adds just the right amount of contrast to the irresistible shrimp.
Pecan Coconut Shrimp with Easy Chipotle Ketchup
Recipe developed by Meme Inge
For the ketchup:
1/2 cup ketchup
1 chipotle pepper, minced
1 tsp honey
For the shrimp:
3/4 cup pecans
2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 lb. peeled shrimp
1 TBSP coconut oil (or canola oil)
Directions for the ketchup
- Whisk together the ingredients for the ketchup and transfer to a plastic or glass bowl. Set aside until ready to use. Keep in fridge when not using.
Directions for the shrimp
- Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Add oil to baking sheet and put in oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Meanwhile, add the pecans to a food processor and process until it forms a powder. Make sure not to over process or it could turn into pecan butter. Add half of the coconut along with the garlic powder, salt, paprika and cayenne pepper. Process for about 5 seconds. Transfer to a bowl along with remaining coconut.
- In another bowl, whisk together eggs. Dip shrimp in eggs, let drain, then toss in the pecan-coconut mixture. Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining shrimp.
- Carefully remove preheated baking sheet from oven. Transfer the pecan coated shrimp to the baking sheet and put in oven. Bake for 8 minutes then flip (or just stir the shrimp so they don't stick). Bake another 5-8 minutes, until shrimp are done and coating is lightly browned. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts per 1/4 Pecan Coconut Shrimp recipe: 354 calories, 24.5g fat (7.9g saturated), 6.9g carbohydrates, 3.3g fiber, 26.4g protein Nutrition facts per 2 TBSP ketchup: 37 calories, 0g fat, 9.8g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 0g protein