This Bahamian delicacy is a coveted ingredient inside and outside of the Carribean. Let’s discover the deliciousness that is conch.
What is Conch?
Conch (pronounced ‘konk’) is a tropical marine mollusk (that’s also classified as a sea snail) found throughout the warm waters of the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and Carribean. The most coveted variety of conch is the queen conch, the largest and tastiest mollusk of it’s class, growing upwards of 12 inches in length and maxing out at around 5lbs. The queen conch has a large, external shell, noted by its tell-tale spiral pattern and pink-orange coloring. Snuggled inside the formidable shell is the edible portion of the conch, which forms a firm mass of pinkish-white flesh.
Cooking with Conch
Conch is a delicacy, and is probably one of the most famous foods in the Caribbean. The flavor is not that much different from calamari. Conch is fresh tasting and firm with a bit of chew, without any off-putting fishy smell. Most often, you’ll find conch already separated from the shell. If not, speak with the seafood retailer to assist in removing the shell, as it is a considerable task which most chefs try to avoid. Conch can be consumed raw or cooked with just a little preparation, before cooking or serving, to tenderize and reduce some of that firmness.
This handy guide will help you determine the best conch tenderizing process for your recipe.
For recipe inspiration, we love this raw conch salad recipe as an appetizer with some serious Carribean-kick. For a taste of the Florida Keys, this conch chowder is a must try. Fried conch, or cracked conch, is a true taste of the Bahamas, and worthy of your next fish-fry. Try adding pieces of conch to our Caribbean Plantain Curry recipe during the last 10 minutes of cooking to incorporate this delicious mollusk into your next meal.
Most markets, specializing in seafood, may have conch available. If not, direct shipment seafood companies can easily ship conch right to your door, try Wholey Seafood or Giovanni’s Fish Market.
Feature Image: Flickr user dick_pountain ( CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 )