Vail’s Colorful Cooking column |

Vail’s Colorful Cooking column

Tracy Miller]
VAIL CO, Colorado

Special to the DailyBroiling these coconut shrimp instead of deep fat frying them makes for a much healthier meal.

Some people set goals, while some people go with the flow. I am a goal-oriented gal that longs to be the cool and calm chic. It’s not going to happen, so I need goals that I can attain. A five year plan is as important as the quick fix goal. My quick fixes keep me motivated and have included things like: finish a triathlon, climb a mountain, call my gram more, not eat carbs or candy, fun stuff like that. My biggest small hurdle was not eating fried food for 30 days.

Studies reveal that 25 percent of Americans consume fast food everyday and most of those meals include something that’s been fried. Deep fat fried food is crunchy, rich and savory. However enjoyable to the palate, nutritionally speaking, it’s not healthy at all. Not even one bit (or bite). Eating fried food increases our intake of fat and sugar, causes inflammation that can lead to disease and increases our likelihood of developing depression, to name a few of the many terrible side effects.

Developing recipes is something I have been doing for the past few years, uncovering healthy ways to reduce fat and sugar in daily meals. My latest hurdle has been to replicate “fried” good without the fry daddy. What I’ve found is broiling is a good alternative for the home cook.

Butter and oil is optional when broiling. Using a broiling pan allows any excess fat to drip from the pan, escaping your mouth and hips. Plus, the high heat gives the food a crunchchy texture with far less fat.

Below is a way to crisp up coconut shrimp without deep frying. This quick-to-fix crunchy salad is sweet, sour, spicy, savory and salty all at the same time. The spicy shitakes are balanced by a sweet vinaigrette, sour apples and coconut shrimp. This fresh lunch pairs nicely with a ginger beer, water or a glass of rose wine. Enjoy!

Coconut shrimp with green salad

Recommended Stories For You

6 cups shredded romaine

1 pound shrimp, raw (26-30 count)

1 cup shredded sweet coconut

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium Granny Smith apples

4 ounces fresh shitake mushrooms

8 green onions, diced using both white and green parts

1 tablespoons crushed red pepper (use less for less spice)

1 cup apple jelly

1 tablespoon finely minced ginger (1 teaspoon dried)

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1⁄4 teaspoon salt

Olive oil

1 large English cucumber (optional)

Peel and de-vein raw shrimp. Melt two tablespoons of butter. Mix coconut and bread crumbs on a plate. Remove stems from shitake mushrooms and wipe clean. Toss mushrooms in a bowl with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon red pepper (use less if you’d like less heat). Turn broiler to high. Toss shrimp in butter and roll in coconut. Place on broiler pan. Place shitake mushrooms on broiler pan. Cook shrimp and mushrooms for 4 minutes. Remove mushrooms and allow to cool. Flip shrimp and return shrimp to broiler for 3 minutes (watch carefully so the coconut doesn’t burn).

In a bowl, mix apple jelly, ginger, rice wine vinegar and salt until smooth. Slice cucumber, if using, in thin circles. Peel apple and chop into small cubes. Cut mushrooms into small cubes and toss with onions.

Arrange cucumber on bottom of plate, place lettuce on top of cucumber, then apple. Line shrimp along the center of the salad and put mushroom mixture on each side of shrimp. Spoon apple vinaigrette generously on top of salad.

Serves 4 as first course or 2 as main.

Tracy Miller shares her recipes on TV8’s Good Morning Vail every Wednesday at 8 a.m., teaches cooking classes at Colorado Mountain College and hosts private cooking parties. Please contact her at