Conch Fritters

I found inspiration at our local TwoJerks Seafood shop where they have added 1-pound packages of fresh frozen conch meat to their selection of fresh (and frozen) seafood products.

Seeing the conch brought back SO many fond memories of enjoying conch fritters all over the Abaco Islands, but especially on Green Turtle Cay. I cannot tell you how many orders we have enjoyed from The Wrecking Tree, Pineapple’s and also in the kitchen frying up a batch with Miss Robertha.

Here’s what you will need:

  • Oil or shortening for frying
  • 1 pound fresh conch, *prepared (about 3 cups)
  • 1 whole jalapeno, seeded & finely diced (or 1/2 scotch bonnet or habanero)
  • 1 cup Spanish onion, diced (about 1/2 of an onion)
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp Tabasco or hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 2 teaspoons regular salt
  • 1/2 cup beer (to desired batter texture)

HEAT THE OIL in large pot or deep fryer to 365 F (185 degrees C).

* PREPARING THE CONCH IS THE FIRST STEP:

Method #1 – prepared by hand: Place the conch on a cutting board or other tough work surface.  Use the rough side of a meat mallet to pound the conch to about 1/4″ thickness.  Use a very sharp chef’s knife to finely mince the conch meat 1/4″ dice (or less). The vegetables will also have to be very finely diced by hand. 

Method #2 – using a meat grinder: If you have a meat grinder, this is the best option. You do not have to pound-out the conch, just dice it into small 1/3 inch pieces. Transfer the diced conch to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Dice all remaining vegetables and add to the mixing bowl, stirring well to combine ingredients. Grind the conch & vegetable mixture through the coarse setting of a food grinder and reserve the ground mixture into another medium-size bowl. 

Method #3 – using a food processor: Using a food processor, you do not have to pound-out the conch, just dice it into small 1/3-inch pieces. Transfer the conch pieces to the bowl of a food processor and pulse quickly 10-15 times to chop the conch a little finer.  Transfer the chopped conch to a large mixing bowl. Next, add the jalapeno or scotch bonnet pepper to the bowl of the food processor.  Divide the chopped celery in half and add one half to the jalapeno/scotch bonnet pepper.  Pulse several times until the celery and scotch bonnet are finely minced. Add remaining half of the celery to the processor along with the onions and bell peppers; pulse a few more times, until pieces are about 1/4 inch (or less) in size. Transfer the vegetable mixture to the processed conch and stir to combine.

MAKING THE BATTER:

To the minced conch/vegetable mixture, add eggs and spices; stir well to combine. In another small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add flour mixture to conch mixture and stir; it will have a dry crumbly texture. Add about 1/2 cup beer until batter reaches desired consistency, which should be very thick like a heavy pudding.

Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons (or a small scoop) into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Turn each fritter as they are frying to make sure they are cooked evenly on both sides. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Now is the time to slightly season again.

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, no subs
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce, or
  • 1 teaspoon Pickapeppa (or Worcestershire)Sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a bowl, mix the ketchup, fresh lime juice, mayonnaise, hot sauce, salt & pepper.

Serve dipping sauce on the side with the fritters.

NOTE: Conch batter stores well in the freezer

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