Ingredients question - rock shrimp & toasted coconut
Just came across a yummy-sounding recipe for rock shrimp salad with sweet chili sauce and toasted coconut which I'm going to try for new year's. I've heard of rock shrimp but I'm not exactly sure what they are. Do they go by another name? Are they readily available at good fish stores? Also, how do you make toasted coconut? Should I use dessicated coconut (from the bag) and toast it in a hot frying pan or in the oven as I would do with nuts? Is there an easy way of toasting fresh coconut? Thanks. I'll definitely post the recipe if it ends up tasting as good as it looks.
Thank you both for the good advice. I checked at Whole Foods (we don't yet have Trader Joe's in Canada) and a high-end seafood store but neither had fresh or frozen rock shrimp so I'm just going to sub with a medium pink shrimp, as suggested. I also found some shaved unsweetened coconut flakes which I'll toast in the oven. There's no dipping sauce per se, the recipe is a salad with shrimp, toasted coconut, pomelo, chilies, shallots, fish sauce, lime, etc.
Trader Joe's has frozen rock shrimp (at least here in my area- maybe your too). Rock shrimp are a deep-water cousin of the pink, brown, and white shrimp and so named for its very hard shell. The meat of the rock shrimp is sweeter than other warm salt-water shrimp. So, the combination with toasted coconut sounds really good.
And, you can buy coconut already toasted. It's a lot easier than toasting your own and the flavor is not much different. Also, the baking coconut you might buy in supermarkets may be sweetened and that might effect the toasting, so try to find shredded, unsweetened coconut if you want to toast your own in the oven as you described.
Are you making a dipping sauce for them also? There was a restaurant in Newport Beach, CA, called Bistro 201 that had them on the menu (now closed). Soooooo good.
Rock shrimp aren't a type of shrimp but a small crustacean with a very hard outer shell. They are always shelled in advance and look like shelled raw lobster. They are often available frozen as well. If you can't find them, peeled medium shrimp are a good substitute.
Coconut can be toasted in a nonstick pan on top of the oven or more commonly, in the oven at say 350. Stir and do not allow to burn.
Make sure that you are using the type of coconut required. Most Asian recipes assume you are using natural unsweetened coconut rather than the sweetened type available in the baking good section. Many health food store care the natural unsweetened product as well. The level of sweetness and texture are different. They don't sub well.