True Slow Food- Cracked Conch: Sea Snails Rule!
We’ve offered some pretty tasty snails of the sea at the market through the years. California abalone sliced thin for sashimi, steamed tiny periwinkles steamed in white wine with garlic and butter, whelk (scungilli) simmered Italian style in a tangy tomato sauce. I love ’em all. One marine gastropod mollusk that many of you may be familiar with is the queen conch. You know, the big beautiful conch shell with the shiny pink interior. The ancients from Florida through the Caribbean down to Brazil utilized conch meat as an important food source. They used the shells to make jewelry, tools, weapons as well as amazingly loud horns.
Sometimes called, “the abalone of the Caribbean” the meat has a delicious clam like sweetness to it. Like the abalone or a large clam, they are tough and require tenderizing by pounding or mincing in a food processor. Conch chowder, fritters and salad (ceviche style) are common preparations. One of my favorite conch dishes is called cracked conch; simply pounded, breaded, fried like a clam and served with fresh lime wedges and hot sauce. Nothing can cure the mid-winter blahs like a taste bud trip to the Bahamas (even if it’s all in your mind) without leaving the kitchen! Enjoy this recipe for cracked conch!