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Originally published Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 9:12 AM

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Recipe: Guilt-free Coconut Shrimp

How to make a less-fattening coconut shrimp — with only four ingredients.

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That should be "from". MORE
The guilt should come form how the shrimp are harvested. MORE

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Coconut shrimp is sweet, crunchy and almost always deep-fried — hence its deliciousness. Next time you’re tempted to order it, consider this: ONE coconut shrimp contains 126 calories and more than 7 grams of fat.

Mathematically speaking, that means more than 50 percent of the calories come from fat. And when was the last time you ate just one shrimp?

Here’s the deal: ALL of the fat comes from the batter and frying process because shrimp is virtually fat-free by nature.

Since I realize people adore the dish, I developed a fabulous coconut shrimp recipe with only four ingredients (plus salt and pepper). You’ll be amazed at the amount of flavor you get from just four ingredients. Tangy buttermilk tenderizes succulent shrimp while acting as the “glue” for the coconut crust. I also add whole-wheat Saltine crackers for that “fried,” crispy exterior. As the little crustaceans bake in the oven, the coconut becomes golden brown and develops a subtle nuttiness, the perfect contrast for the buttermilk. The best part? You can enjoy eight of these gems for just 196 calories and 5 grams of fat.

Coconut Shrimp

Cooking spray

1 ¼ pounds raw extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave the tails on)

½ cup low-fat buttermilk

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

⅓ cup crushed whole-wheat saltine crackers (7 crackers)

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place shrimp in a large bowl, add buttermilk and turn to coat.

In a shallow dish, combine coconut, crushed crackers, salt and pepper. Mix to combine.

Remove shrimp from buttermilk and shake off excess buttermilk. Transfer shrimp to coconut mixture and turn to coat both sides, pressing coconut mixture into shrimp if necessary to create a nice crust. Place shrimp on prepared pan and bake 10-12 minutes, until shrimp are opaque and cooked through and coconut coating is golden brown and crispy.

Makes 4 servings.

Courtesy Robin Miller on foodnetwork.com.

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