Coconut shrimp is shrimp that is battered or breaded with coconut and deep fried or baked in the oven. The coconut in the coating gives the shrimp a slightly sweet flavor that might entice family members who normally turn their noses up at shrimp to try the dish. Pair the coconut shrimp with dip, side dishes and an island dessert to round out the menu.
Continue the tropical flavor theme with a sweet or savory dip. Combine finely diced mango with lemon or serve a lime and chili sauce. Buttermilk dressing makes a creamy dip and pineapple salsa compliments the flavor of coconut shrimp. Try an Asian-style dip, such as soy sauce mixed with ginger and garlic, or buy bottled sauces at the supermarket or an Asian market.
Pair coconut shrimp with a light side dish, such as a fresh green salad with Caesar dressing, grilled vegetables or veggie kabobs dusted with dried seasoning mix. Stay away from heavy or creamy side dishes. Grill pineapple slices for garnish, but save some for dessert, served plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Tropical drinks -- pina coladas, mojitos and daiquiris -- are natural choices for the adults in the group. For the kids, serve tropical treats without the alcohol. Make fruit smoothies and skewer orange slices and cherries on a swizzle stick for garnish. Add a colorful paper cocktail umbrella for fun. For a non-alcoholic beverage, give iced tea a shot of fruit flavoring, such as peach or mango syrup, and serve it over ice.
If you still feel you need a dessert after all that coconut shrimp, serve up a key lime pie. Key lime pie complements the citrus, tropical flavors of the rest of the meal. If you don't have time to bake, look for key lime pie in the freezer section at the grocery store. Just thaw and slice for a sweet ending to a sweet-hot meal. Sherbet topped with fresh berries makes a refreshing finish to the meal.