Conch, what a wonderful and delicious animal. You can steam it, have it cracked, frittered, turned into a burger, use it for gumbo or chowder and a host of other creative dishes. It reminds me of when Bubba educated Forrest on all the ways to prepare shrimp…fried shrimp, blackened shrimp, sauteed shrimp…you get the idea.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy this mollusk is to have it prepared as Conch Salad. Straight from the clear waters of the Caribbean, pulled from the shell, cleaned, diced, marinated in juices and mixed with a medley of veggies…it doesn’t get much better than that.
A couple years ago on an adventure through the Exuma Islands with 4 C’s Adventures, we stopped the boat in 10 feet of crystal clear water and were told to put on our masks and fins, dive in and find lunch. We dove to the bottom and collected nearly a dozen conch and tossed them on the boat. We were then whisked away to a ribbon shaped sand bar where Captain Pat and his first mate started to prepare conch salad right there on the sand bar. Yes I ate the pistol (sexual organ that claims to be an aphrodisiac) and no I didn’t pitch a tent in my shorts. I think that legend is just for foolish tourist.
While over in Bimini a couple months ago, we stopped at a fantastic little shack that’s perched over the water called Stuart’s Conch Salad Stand. We ordered up a round of Conch Salad and Kalik and enjoyed the view. A few yards away on an old weathered dock was a man working a pile of freshly caught conch. He was striking the shell with a hammer in just the right spot to dislodge the tasty mollusk. I pulled out my camera and took some video of the simple yet beautiful act. The water behind him was a thousand different shades of blue, the seagulls and pelicans were lined up waiting for scraps, the scene was so amazing that I actually sat back and just watched. It was so real, so beautiful…so Caribbean. You can watch it in the video below.
I knew that the conch that was being sliced and diced in front of me had been on that adjacent dock only minutes before. Straight from the sea to my bowl. Fresh as fresh can be. The woman mixed all the ingredients, soaked it all in citrus juices and served the salad with a smile…and another round of Kalik.
Conch Salad is delicious, good for you and easy to make. The hard part is getting your hands on fresh conch, at least it is for us in the states. Their are many different recipes for Conch Salad, but basically most are very similar. It seems that the Bahamas have their way of making Conch Salad, then Turks and Caicos, BVI, the DR and so on. Each island adding their own unique twists on the recipe. I guess we will have to do some island hopping and to find out who has the best Conch Salad! Care to set sail with me?
Conch Salad Recipe
Conch Salad Recipe
- 1 pound of uncooked conch
- 1 medium diced onion
- about 1 cup of diced celery
- 3 medium chopped tomatoes
- 1 chopped green bell pepper
- 1 chopped red bell pepper
- 1 minced habanero pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
- juice of 2 fresh limes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instruction: Wash the cleaned conch thoroughly in bowl. Dice finely and put into second bowl to soak for about 30 minutes; drain. Dice onion, celery, tomatoes, peppers and mix. Combine all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and squeeze fresh orange and lime juice in to mixture. Add salt and pepper and toss all together. Serve.
This will be a tough question, but where did you eat the best Conch Salad you’ve ever had?