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Mix Shredded Coconut Into Panko To Give Your Crusted Cod A Hint Of Sweetness

fried coconut and panko cod
fried coconut and panko cod - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

A flaky fillet of cod is a textural treat when combined with a crispy panko coating. But have you tried mixing shredded coconut into your panko breadcrumbs to give your crusted cod a hint of sweetness? This simple step elevates the delicate taste of the fish in one breezy move without overpowering its subtle flavor.

The process is as easy as adding a handful of shredded coconut into your seasoned panko and coating your cod in it after dredging it in flour and beaten egg. Once fried in a skillet with a touch of oil, the result is a tender flaky center with an audibly crisp and golden-colored crust that has a balancing sweetness that you can't quite put your finger on.

Bear in mind that when you make this crunchy coating you're not looking to use the sweetened shredded coconut that's often featured in baked goods. This is because coconut already has a slightly sweet flavor in its most natural form, which is more than enough to lend some depth to the savoriness of the toasty breadcrumbs. You'll also need the chunkier, shredded variety of coconut, over the dried, desiccated coconut (used to coat chocolatey Lamingtons and chewy macaroons) that has a finer consistency. The characteristic grated texture of shredded coconut is what lends the fish an appetizingly craggy crunch when it catches and crisps up in the heat of the pan. It also adds more heft to the coating, creating a thicker crust.

Read more: 15 Different Ways To Cook Fish

Shredded Coconut Has An Appetizing Aroma

cod dipped in coconut and panko
cod dipped in coconut and panko - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Finally, if you've ever toasted coconut in a dry skillet, you'll have already experienced that delicious nutty aroma that fills your kitchen as you toss the fine shreds in your hot pan. That same aroma arises when frying your coated fish, which lends your fillet an inviting scent as well as a temptingly robust texture. The added coconut also improves the nutritional content of your meal -- 100g of dried coconut contains 16g of fiber and 7g of protein, which helps to boost satiety.

Craving a touch more oomph? Thai flavors, like those found in spicy Thai curries, pair particularly well with coconut-crusted cod. You could easily combine these Asian flavors, such as chili flakes, garlic granules, and lemongrass, into the crust. Or of course, you could keep the coating super plain so the natural, nutty sweetness of the coconut shines through. What's more, seeing as the flavor profile of the coconut is quite mild, it's a great flavor to introduce to kids who are picky about new tastes and textures. And if they're really particular about new foods, they don't even need to know the coconut is in there, because the shredded appearance is almost camouflaged against the texture of the panko once fried. You can simply introduce the recipe as homemade fish sticks.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.