It’s fair to say by now that you guys should all know that I love coconuts; I use the oil for frying, salad dressings, the milk for marinades, sauces & curries. It’s my go-to for hair care and I lovingly massage it into my scalp 2-3 times a week. Fresh from the shower and whenever I remember, I apply to my face and body for a light, healthy moisturizer…but I’ve told you guys all of this before… I also have around 6 bearing coconut trees in my yard and we stay drinking fresh coconut water and snacking on the jelly.
So when I heard about Coco Fest, of course I was highly interested.
Coco Fest; a grassroots, locally focused event now in its second year, celebrates the Cayman Coconut – a bountiful food source with legendary properties, and a traditional staple in the Caymanian diet. It remembers a time when the coconut industry was very important in Cayman and encourages the growth of this industry again. I think it’s fair to say that we are well on our way to that goal.
I admit, I was super last minute with the decision to come on board & participate in Coco Fest this year. I had been sitting on the information for weeks and kept telling myself that I wanted to check the event out as a spectator, considering that I hadn’t attended last year.
Set on the stunning ground of Pedro St. James, it’s difficult to not be immediately enamored by the grounds and historical architecture overlooking the iron-shore and deep blue waters beyond. It truly is one of the most breathtaking locations in Grand Cayman.
So when chef & friend Jessica from Taste This Life told gave me the opportunity to share a booth with her, I knew that I had to take her up on the offer. I am so glad that I did!
When I decided (on Wednesday) to participate in an event 3 days later, I of course had to now scramble to put together a dish, get supplies, start prep etc.
Interesting fact : I have always felt that I performed best under pressure, well ta-da! Now was time to put myself to the test.
I’m not a huge fan of sweets & since I can’t bake to save my life, that works out well. So when I think coconut, I think savory & inevitably, shrimp. I went through a decade of my life where I tried every version of coconut shrimp on every menu I saw it on and while I’ve had some really great ones, I had far more that were complete train wrecks.
We’ve all had the rubbery, soggy over-breaded and over fried appetizer offering, served with a syrupy sweet, gooey sauce that leaves us gagging. Ugh.
Well, that’s exactly what I had in mind for what I didn’t want when I came up with these shrimp balls. No flour or breadcrumbs, no egg, just pure yummy goodness. Using a fish and shrimp mousse as a base and folding in onion, escallion, scotch bonnet and shredded coconut with chopped white shrimp for that beautiful bite we all love from shrimp, gave me exactly the texture and rich seafood flavour that I was looking for.
Perfectly golden, with a crispy, coco-nutty bite on the outside, these juicy seafood nuggets were light and yet surprisingly filling. Personally I would add a bit more scotch bonnet to my next batch & I also would have remembered to bring the finishing salt instead of leaving it on my kitchen counter but other than that I was completely thrilled with them.
The end result worked out so well & we (along with everyone else) seemed to be so happy with them that not only did we almost sell out but these tasty nuggets will now officially be on our menu this Saturday for Red Sky At Night at the Harquail Theatre.
So for those of you who missed out last weekend, here’s your chance to get them again!
You can catch us in the Cafe Cayman area from 3:00 PM until Midnight where we will be serving our Shrimp Seafood Fritters with Mango Scotch Bonnet Sauce and our Charred Corn & Sweet Potato Fritters with Jalapeno Coconut Cream. Also on the menu will be our Breadfruit Fries in Coconut Oil.
Don’t say I never told you!
If anyone has pics from Coco Fest please send them & as always, huge thanks to those who came out last weekend & I hope to see you all at Red Sky!