At Montpelier Plantation in Nevis, Chef Kosta StaicoffÂ’s coconut-crusted shrimp with melon-and-mango salad is the star of the show By Lisa Rogak

Nevis isn’t the easiest place to reach. The journey to this Caribbean island typically involves at least one change of planes—usually more—and a ferry ride. However, once you make it to Montpelier Plantation, a small windswept resort tucked away on the island, you’ll discover the effort was worth it, especially upon tasting executive chef Kosta Staicoff’s coconut-crusted shrimp with melon-and-mango salad.

Chef Staicoff cut his culinary teeth in Portland, Oregon, where he followed in the footsteps of many Pacific Northwest chefs by relying on local ingredients as much as possible. After working as a sous chef at the acclaimed Peerless Restaurant in Ashland, Oregon, he headed to Montpelier Plantation in 2007 and has been reveling in the sheer quantity of fresh produce on the island ever since. “The variety of mangoes on Nevis inspired this dish,” he says. “We literally have dozens of different kinds on just this small island alone. And the tight-knit community makes getting local fish, fruit, and vegetables a pleasure.

Chef Staicoff’s dish, however, transcends the taste buds. “This dish is all about fun,” he continues, adding that he likes to make this salad for occasions when the setting is a little less formal, and guests can relax and just enjoy the spirit and beauty of the Caribbean.

Coconut-Crusted Shrimp, Melon & Mango Salad serves 4
3 coconuts
1/2  honeydew melon, peeled, seeded, and diced into ½-inch cubes
1 mango, peeled, seeded, and diced into ½-inch cubes
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

Crack the coconuts in half. Set two aside. For the third, remove the hard shell and grate the meat with a medium-sized grater. Arrange on paper towels to dry.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the honeydew and mango. Drizzle lime juice and olive oil over the fruit and sprinkle with salt to taste. Lightly toss and set aside.

Set the flour, egg, and grated coconut into three separate dishes. Season the shrimp with salt. Dip each shrimp first into the flour, then the egg, and finally the grated coconut. Preheat a deep fryer until it reaches 340ºF; deep fry the shrimp for 40 seconds, or until golden.
Divide the mango-and-melon salad among the four coconut halves, top each with three shrimp, and serve.