Makes 2 to 3 cups.
I first encountered these chips at a colorful restaurant in Barbados called Raffles. I can't think of a better accompaniment to a planter's punch or other rum drink.
When buying coconuts, look for ones that feel heavy in your hand. Shake the nut: you should be able to hear the liquid slosh around inside. A dry coconut is past its prime.
To open the coconut, punch out the eyes with a screwdriver and hammer. Invert the coconut over a glass and drain out the clearish liquid inside, the water. Coconut water makes a refreshing beverage in its own right (serve over ice) and is great mixed with rum and Falernum.
Wrap the drained coconut in a towel and smash it into five or six pieces with a hammer. (The towel prevents shards of the shell from flying.) Using a short, stiff-bladed knife, pry the coconut meat away from the shell. It's a good idea to wear heavy gloves when working with coconut to protect your hands. (To make the meat easier to remove from the shell, you can bake coconut pieces for about 20 minutes in a 400 degree F. oven. This will help loosen the meat from the shell.)
Trim the brown skin off the white meat with a paring knife. The coconut is now ready for slicing.
1 ripe (hard) coconut
Drain, open, shell, and peel the coconut as described above. Cut the coconut pieces into paper-thin chips, using a mandoline, vegetable peeler, or food processor fitted with a slicing blade. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the strips on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake the chips until crisp and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, turning with a spatula to ensure even cooking. Transfer the chips to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store the chips in an airtight container away from heat or light. The chips will keep for up to a week, although they seldom survive the afternoon at our house. If they should become soft or soggy, you can rebake them until crisp.
The Caribbean Pantry Cookbook
by Steven Raichlen
Photographs by Martin Jacobs
Recipe reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1998; modified November 2006
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