I love conch shells, and have only tried conch meat in a chowder before. When I was browsing through the seafood section recently, I ran into a friend who was buying conch meat. So, I bought some too. Haven't cooked conch meat til now, but wanted to try this recipe that I came across from a popular seafood chain restaurant called Jax Fish House.
Conchs are harvested from the waters of the Caribbean and Flordia, and in season now during summer. Most conch meat are sold cleaned and trimmed. Besides asian markets, conch meat can also be found in some speciality grocery stores around here.
Recipe for Conch Chowder
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 1/2 cups Vidalia onions
2 jalapenos, stems removed, seeded and sliced into thin rings
1 cup chopped celery
2 cups Idaho potatoes, chrubbed but not peeled
1/4 cup finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 springs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs dry oregano
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups tomato juice
3 cups bottled clam juice or fish stock
1 1/2 lbs. conch meat, pounded to tenderize and minced
salt and pepper to tasteIn a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add red and green bell peppers, onions, jalapenos, celery and potatoes. Cook, stirring often, til onions are soft.
Stir in the garlic and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Stir in chopped tomato, thyme, bay leaves, oregano and cayenne. Cook for 5 mins, add tomato juice. Increase heat to reduce liquid to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally. Add clam juice and conch meat. Simmer, partially covered for 30-40 mins. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Recipe from Jax Fish House.
Note: Perfect for a cool, rainy evening. The soup was easy to make and wonderful with toasted garlic bread. Added jalapenos and the cayenne pepper to individual bowls and they add a bright spicy flavor to the soup.
Besides the fun experience of listening to the ocean by holding the conch shell to your ear, wikipedia states that the conch meat is eaten either raw, as in salads, or cooked, as in fritters, chowders, gumbos, and burgers. In East Asian cuisines, the meat is often cut into thin slices and then steamed or stir-fried. In El Salvador, live conch is served in a cocktail of onion, tomato, cilantro, and lemon juice. Conch meat is also often confused with Scungilli, which is more accurately whelk meats. Picture of conch copied from wikipedia's site.