There are years when hectic schedules and other obligations keep us from dipping our toes in the sand during the summer.

But, that doesn’t mean we have to deprive ourselves of the fresh flavors of island fare.

This coconut shrimp recipe satisfies my tropical cravings. Coconut shrimp show up in both Thai and Caribbean cuisines and can be baked or fried — whichever you like best.

I fried these in a shallow pool of olive oil instead of deep-frying. It gets them cooking faster, and it’s easier to see when the shrimp are fully cooked, before the already toasted coconut starts to burn.

Now, for the sauce.

Cocktail sauce just doesn’t go well with coconut shrimp. These succulent shrimp call for something sweet and sour. Just about all of us have access to at least one garden with waning pepper plants. So, a thick banana, bell and jalapeño pepper vinaigrette will be just right for dipping coconut shrimp.

So let’s crank up that patio fan and pretend it’s a Gulf breeze, pour those frozen drinks and nibble on some coconut shrimp.

It’s almost like being there. Almost.