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Conch Fritters

Fri July 5th, 2019

Conch Fritters

The large sea snail that lives in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico surrounding the Florida Keys is known as the Key West Conch (pronounced Konk). The first settlers and longtime residents of Key West are also referred to as Key West Conch.

Americans loyal to the British crown after the war (Tories) were so unpopular, they left the south and fled to the Bahamas (the next British colony). At that time, the British Parliament began taxing Bahamians on their food, the same way they taxed the Bostonians on their tea...

The Bahamians declared that they would rather eat conch than pay the taxes! So, they did just that! The Bahamians came up with 27 different ways to make conch. Over the years, the name Conch was given as a nickname to locals who made Key West their home.

Ingredients:

Conch Fritters:

  • 1 ½ cups (2 medium) conch
  • 1 large hot pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ medium green sweet pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cups water
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon thyme
  • Your favorite Oil for frying (avocado oil, vegetable oil or peanut oil)

Calypso Sauce:

  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce

Directions:

  1. Stir calypso sauce ingredients in bowl until smooth. Chill until fritters are ready
  2. Pass onion, sweet pepper, and conch through a meat grinder or food processor and grind up fine
  3. In large bowl, combine all ingredients to form a batter. The batter should be thick enough to drop from a spoon. If it is too runny add a little more flour to stiffen it. If it is too stiff add a little more water to soften it
  4. There are two ways to fry the fritters. Either in a pot or a deep fat fryer. For a medium sized pot, put in enough oil to fill the pot 1/3rd of the way. Be careful cooking them this way. You want to leave enough room for the oil and the fritters as to not overfill the pot for it to spill over the side as it can cause an oil fire
  5. Make sure cooking oil is hot (about 350 degrees if using deep fat fryer), using a spoon (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on desired size) drop batter into hot oil – fritters should float to the surface and bob around like apples in a barrel of water. Use a long fork to turn fritter so that they are golden brown on all sides
  6. Remove from oil and place in a container lined with absorbent paper to soak up any excess oil

Conch fritter batter can be frozen and used latter. To reuse, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour or until defrosted. Pour into large bowl and add 2 tsp of baking powder, mix until baking powder is blended in. If the consistency is off, adjust with flour or water as needed. Please note that you may need to add seasoning to correct flavor also.

Serving Suggestions:

Plate conch fritters alongside 2 oz of chilled calypso sauce for dipping. Use toothpicks for handling of the hot fritter and dunk your fritter into the sauce for cooling, complimentary flavors Enjoy!

Source: Tru Bahamian Food Tours