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For The Love Of Conch!

Discussion in 'Non-fish Seafood' started by leah elisheva, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. Happy New Week, You Very Fabulous Smoked Cookies!

    I eat A LOT of CONCH.

    And I love it!

    (Today's lunch therefore is at the end of this thread posting).

    Usually I order a huge palette of conch, that comes in from Honduras, and has the lovely LARGE CONCH meat which is removed from shells like this one...

    My favorite way to eat that is to eat it raw, having made "ceviche" with the chopped meat and some garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, and so it goes...(paired with black rice).

    But I also will freeze a couple breasts of it, and then pan sear it or smoke it for just seconds on another day, and have that over hot amaranth or in pasta or black rice, or with a batch of freshly made Babaganoush or whatever it be...

    Today however, I just got the locally available tiny conch shells, which don't yield as much meat but still serve as tasty, musky, and sexy food nonetheless!

    So today, I SMOKED these guys, and they were superb!

    Here's what I did...

    I rinsed off the main dirt from the shells...

    And put those shells directly on the smoker, (my gas mini) for 15 minutes at about 410 degrees, and with hickory chips...

    then the entire snail loosens enough to be forked out pretty easily...

    I clean those up, and rinse off any extra dirt, chop off the tough black covering which isn't tasty...

    And I'm left with the delicious parts to chop up...

    I tossed the chunks with tomato, a nuked red garnet yam (chopped), fresh chopped cilantro, and raw chopped elephant garlic...

     And I sprinkled cayenne all over, and olive oil too...(steamed haricot vert added onto the plate and paired with a French Chardonnay)...

    And it was WON-DER-FUL!!! A lovely, healthful, and delicious lunch indeed!

    Usually, I'll put those tiny shells in the dishwasher afterward, and save in vases (as shown here from some meals back), but today's got pretty smoky and black and so I let them go.

    In any event, DELICIOUS stuff!

    Happy new and magnificent week!

    Cheers! - Leah
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  2. mike johnson

    mike johnson Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    You are the food master!!! Im always so amazed with the food you make.
  3. Oh Mike, thank you tons! Coming from YOUR artistic plate and palate, I'm very honored to hear such. Indeed.

    I'm one simple Cookie, as far as my "arranging" with minimal ingredients and not really 'cooking' involved per se either. BUT, I do adore my mollusks...

    And so if I may even be the "mollusk master" I'd be humbled, delighted, and thrilled!

    Meanwhile, happy new week! This was righteously delicious!!! Cheers! - Leah
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    And to think, when I was in lower Baja, I walked past all those "snails" on the beach not knowing what they were....   Stupid, stupid Dave.....
  5. WOW Dave, would I have stuffed everything in my beach bag that I could possibly fit - then going back to the car for more bags even!!! I'd stock my freezer!!! Smiles. The "mad mollusk woman" would have made papers! Too funny...

    Yes, if tomorrow were my birthday, (and it's not, as that's in April), but if it were; I could be perfectly happy, just eating raw conch ceviche, (diced up with great garlic and cayenne and such) and drinking wine....

    And so it costs so little, to get a good shell somewhere, right off the beach!!!

    Your Baja trip(s) must have been sensational!!!!!

    Such delicious stuff!!!

    Cheers! - Leah
  6. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Leah, you are definitely the Queen of Conch. Some great looking preparations of one of my favorites.

    I've spent a lot of time sailing throughout the Out Islands of the Bahamas, and further South to the Turks & Caicos and the Caribbean eating nothing but conch for days on end. Plain, ceviche, soups, salads, stews, fritters, chowders, grilled cracked, scorched, you name it. Either on the boat with ones we caught, or in bars and restaurants on land. It's considered the national food in that area with little tweaks on the  same dish from island to island. A couple times I went to the annual 3 day conch festival  at the Three Queens Bar on Provo in the T&Cs. It's a raucous party paying homage to the conch, and serving it in every manner imaginable.

    Unfortunately, when not in that area, the conch that's available to me sucks, so I just avoid it. About the best I can do is grab what I can find of the fresh conch when I'm in the Florida Keys, or get pretty decent tinned scungilli that's harvested in nearby waters off the Southern US Atlantic coast.

    Very nice presentation, indeed.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  7. moikel

    moikel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I love it,not available here so completely new. Big buggers aren't they?
    So they taste like what exactly? I suppose abalone is the closest thing we have,not eaten raw much & very expensive .
    Do people stir fry them ? Wok seared with garlic,ginger,chilli, sort of thing.
    Out fish market will trade 36 hours straight ending 5 pm Xmas eve , 100,000 people will attend in person . You want to buy seafood at 1 am ,step this way.
  8. Well thank you very much Dls1!

    An entire Conch festival would be enchanting, although your personal travels, and the rotation and versions you savored, sounded so authentically fabulous and in tandem with tropical backdrops and interesting experiences and so forth. Terrific to hear of!

    And Mick, yes, some abalone taste, and some "scallop meets halibut cheek & calamari" in a tiny hint or taste or essence too, although these are tough and dry if overcooked, and so either raw or seared only for seconds is really best.

    The smoked little ones today were good once chopped and mixed with oil, cayenne, and such.

    My favorite way is still a simple ceviche. But I love conch, and will eat it any way - except with mayonnaise - which is my one hate in life.

    In any event, thank you both! It's so fun to share, and I most certainly learn so much and enjoy the stories, food, libation, and all that is brought to the table via this site and from everyone!

    Happy brand new and beautiful week!

    Cheers!!!!!! - Leah
  9. goinforbroke

    goinforbroke Smoke Blower

    stunning presentation skills.  You should head down to the Conch Republic
  10. Why thank you GoinForBroke!

    I love conch, and love cobia fish (my two favorite foods perhaps, out of everything, despite me loving so many) and apparently there are some areas that have plentiful supplies of both, and so your idea actually has me thinking some, or at hungry moments!!! Smiles.

    In any event, thank you tons! Happy new and delicious week!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  11. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That looks wonderful. I have only had conch chowder. We never see it in the stores up here. I guess I better head south.

  12. Thank you Disco! Yes, it's lovely stuff! When seared less than one minute (literally) or used raw in ceviche, it's buttery soft - like a raw scallop - and WON-DER-FUL!!!

    Merry Christmas Eve!!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  13. dogboa

    dogboa Fire Starter

    When did they lift the ban on taking queen conch in Florida? The only conch I'm aware of being available is frozen and imported. No conch from the Conch Republic. The ban was established in '75 and is still in place.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  14. Well all I know is that both my beloved CONCH and my very favorite food on earth, COBIA, are apparently available in fabulous abundance in Key West. And so, when it comes to 'republics' I am not against considering it. That I love winter, makes that a bit odd...But I will look into it, considering that I am moving in 2014 and am determined to get the location correct.

    Meanwhile, Merry Christmas to all! Cheers! - Leah
  15. shoneyboy

    shoneyboy Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great looking plates !! I have never tried conch, but would love to give it a try..... Seeing your pictures just reinforces my desire to try it........ Thanks for the post......... ShoneyBoy
  16. Thank you so much Shoneyboy!!! I love conch! And so long as it isn't overcooked, it's really delicious!!! Merry Christmas to you!!! Cheers! - Leah
  17. disco

    disco Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ceviche! Oh, do I love scallop and shrimp ceviche. Sadly, the missus calls it bait. However, when I do make it for company, there is more for me!

    If conch makes great ceviche, I definitely need to find some.

  18. dls1

    dls1 Smoking Fanatic

    Dogboa, You're correct that the ban has not been lifted, and I should have made myself clearer. The ban in '75 was commercial, and a recreational ban came in '86. The fresh conch I've had in the Keys, and it hasn't been a lot, was not taken offshore, or purchased at a sea food store. It's been a serendipitous by catch when fishing, diving, or snorkeling around reefs and such in shallow territorial waters beyond the US boundary line, which is 12 NM. It's always been harvested, and for the most part consumed, before we even get back to the dock.
  19. Hi Disco! Yes, the ceviche is best! (In my humble "mad-conch" induced opinion). Smiles.

    And as for Dogboa and Dls1; I love this site!

    One morning I woke up and saw that folk were arguing about some Polish sausage recipe and the curing temp or something of that sort!

    Sometimes I see the debate going about export of various foods...

    To even think that 'conch bans' could become discussion is just plain HAPPY!!! It IS!!!

    Yes "of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world," it is delightful, that we on this site are so food passionate, that these are the worst discussions???? Fantastic!

    Life is short. And if the quandary is about where conch is available, I think we all should feel mighty lucky!!! Smiles.

    Nonetheless, it is indeed interesting stuff, and I am thrilled therefore to learn of it.

    I have another video coming by the way, tomorrow, late in the day, from zany "Leah Land" which shall officially cap off my "video blog" series for this "Mermaid" series anyway. So come back here then and enjoy!

    Meanwhile, continue to discuss the regulations of conch or anything else, as it is fascinating and I'm just so grateful to learn!!!

    And Merry Christmas!!! What is everyone eating, and drinking today? I'd love to know!!!! Cheers! - Leah
  20. dogboa

    dogboa Fire Starter

    Its all good, it just hit me that I might have missed the removal of the ban. The gov keeps hitting us with more and more restriction. Lobster has gone from no limits to 6 per person per day. It is necessary to maintain a viable fishery. Anyhoo, if you folks get down to the Keys and are looking to try an excellent fish, hogfish is a sure bet. I see it has become available commercially.