“Konk” is found mostly in the Caribbean with its closest culinary relative being the Abalone. Conch is indigenous to the Bahamas. The meat of conchs is eaten raw in salads, or cooked in burgers, chowders, gumbos, and fritters. All parts of the conch meat are edible. Even though it taste is very mild with a bit of chew, its real story lies in its shell and the myths it have followed it for 3,000 years.
The magnificent Queen Conch has long been considered a symbol of good luck by sailors and travelers. So indestructible is this beautiful shell that, no matter how it is tossed and uprooted by the stormy sea, it always returns home. As such, the conch has become a symbol of strength and endurance. In Greek mythology, the conch shell was used as a horn by Triton, the son of the sea god Poseidon. Aphrodite, the Greek love goddess, is sometimes depicted holding the conch shell as a reminder that she was born from the sea. In Hindu tradition, the conch shell is often used in ceremonies as the sound it makes is said to correspond with “higher frequency universal sounds”.
Sounds of the sea and universe aside, the conch makes some of the best fried appetizers anywhere in the world.
Bahamian Conch Fritters with Mayo-Ketchup Sauce
- Food processor (optional)
- Large bowl
- Medium bowl
- Deep fryer, wok, or deep skillet
- Cookie scoop
- Spider scoop or slotted spoon
- 4 cups Cooking oil (cut in half if pan frying)
- 1 lb Conch (Sub: Boiled shrimp or squid)
- 1½ cup All-purpose Flour
- ¾ tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Curry powder (optional)
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Black pepper
- ½ whole Scotch bonnet, habanero, or jalapeno (optional)
- ½ medium Onion
- 1 stalk Celery
- 1 medium Bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, or mixed
- ¼ tsp Dried thyme
- ½ cup Club soda
- ½ cup Beer (or omit and double club soda amount)
- 1 large Lime, cut into wedges for garnish
- ¾ cup Mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup Tomato ketchup
- 2 tbsp Fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Tabasco sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp Lime zest
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Fresh lime juice
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Hot sauce
- Prep – Roughly chop onion, celery, bell peppers, and hot pepper. Pound conch to ¼-inch thick and then cut into ¼-inch dice.
- Chop – In a food processor, pulse chopped conch 10-15 times to chop a little finer. Transfer to the large bowl. Add hot pepper and ½ the celery and pulse several times until they are finely minced. Transfer to the bowl with conch. Add remaining celery, onion, bell pepper, eggs, and thyme. Transfer to the bowl with conch and mix everything together.
- Make Batter – In the separate large bowl, thoroughly combine flour, baking powder, curry powder, salt and pepper. Add dry ingredients to bowl with conch and vegetable. Stir into well combined. Add club soda and beer. Stir until combined and the mixture is thick.
- Fry Fritters – Heat oil in a deep fryer or high-sided skillet to 350°F (175°C). Using a cookie scoop, gently drop batter into the hot oil from just above the surface. Fry in batches of 6 to 7 fritters. Cook fritters for 4-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown. When fritters are added to the oil, they will sink to the bottom and then float to the top. With a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Allow oil to get back to temperature then repeat until batter is done.
- Serve – Arrange fritter in a basket or a platter with lime wedges and a dipping sauce,
- Whisk Worcestershire sauce into ketchup. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Serve with hot fritters or refrigerate for later use.
- Combine all the ingredient in a airtight sealed container. Mix to combine thoroughly and serve immediately or refrigerate for up-to 2 weeks.