Remember sometime last year when I had a baby and suddenly realized how surprisingly poorly the United States treats their new mothers?
Well, John Oliver did a pretty great segment on this a few weeks ago. Definitely watch it if you haven’t already.
In it, he illuminates the fact that the United States and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that don’t offer mothers any paid maternity leave.
I don’t love getting political on this site—partly because it always takes more time than simply saying: This was delicious! You should make this! But when I saw this recipe hailing from Papua New Guinea right around the time the John Oliver piece aired, it felt like a no brainer, classic, recipe-as-political-statement opportunity.
Whenever I get really worked up about this issue, I always think of Luisa’s Motherhood Monday interview on A Cup of Jo. It’s called, “20 Surprising Things about Parenting in Germany” and if you want to cry in frustration, you should read it!
This is the line that really makes me want to become a German citizen: “Self-employed women can take up to 12 months off, at approximately 60% of the previous year’s income.” All I can say is: Dude! That would have been so helpful for me and my family.
As for the shrimp themselves, they were enjoyed by my whole family—even Teddy liked them, though I think the bit of cayenne in the batter gave him a moment’s pause. Maybe I’m just growing up, but I was also surprised at how easily it came together. I associate deep-frying with making a huge mess. But that wasn’t the case with these shrimp.
Oh and lastly, this is another recipe from that issue of Food and Wine I loved so much.
In closing, I would like to announce my candidacy for president of the United States.
Your public servant in food and life,
Spicy Coconut Political Shrimp via Food and Wineserves 4
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (Unlike I did, get them with the tails still on!)
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon wedges, for serving
In a shallow dish, whisk the flour with the cayenne and the 1/2 teaspoon of salt. In a second shallow dish, mix the panko with the shredded coconut. Add the coconut milk to a small bowl.
Season the shrimp with salt. Working with 1 shrimp at a time, dredge it in the flour mixture, then dip it in the coconut milk, letting the excess drip off. Coat the shrimp in the panko mixture. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to coat the remaining shrimp.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil until shimmering. In 2 batches, fry the shrimp over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp and cooked through, about 3 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels and serve hot with lemon wedges.