With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are wishing we could escape to a sunny destination to end the year. Sandy white beaches, warm weather, and a nice cold cocktail are definitely what I’ll be asking Santa for this year.
Fortunately, while I fantasized about my next trip down south, Bahamian personality and Chef Simeon Hall Jr. was kind enough to take us on a tour of his homeland in his recent BLACK FOODIE Takeover! on our Instagram page.
From the visit to his local conch (pronounced conk) man who served classic Bahamian ceviche to the pink peppercorn easily found on the coastline, we can see why Chef Simeon believes the Bahamas has it all!
After the tour of his local hotspots, Chef Simeon headed into this kitchen to share a signature Bahamian dish: conch fritters!
Served all over the Caribbean, conch fritters are a true island staple. As Chef Simeon showed us, conch is dried right by the sea on the fishermen’s boats. Before refrigeration became widely available, smoking, salting, and drying were the traditional ways of preserving meat and fish and these methods are still very much present in Caribbean culture.
Before you head to the kitchen to whip up the recipe below, just a reminder of what Chef Simeon said in his Takeover: this recipe varies from household to household! Do not come for us if this recipe is different from the one you grew up with. Feel free to add your special touch and favourite flavours!
Grammy Nola’s World Famous Bahamian Conch Fritters
For the Aioli Sauce, you’ll need:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
For the Conch batter, you’ll need:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 small yellow onion
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1 stalk celery
- 2 loose tsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 large conches, small diced, approximately 1 lb (you can substitute conch for canned clams and clam juice)
- 2 pieces dried conch (substitute 1 tbsp fish sauce)
- 1 cup poaching liquid from the dry conch (substitute clam juice)
- 2 cups cold distilled water
- 1/4 lb conch trimmings
- Oil for frying
For the Aioli Sauce:
- In a mixing bowl whip the mayonnaise. This ensures that the sauce is smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
- Leave at room temperature.
For the Conch Fritter batter:
- Hydrate the dry conch in hot water for 15 minutes then boil for an additional 10 minutes. Cool the broth and finely chop the conch.
- In a cast-iron skillet add the oil for frying and bring to around 325- 345 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Sift the flour and baking powder and then add the salt.
- Add the conch, thyme and hot pepper to the dry ingredients and mix well.
- In a blender add the celery, onion, bell pepper conch trimmings, water and dry conch broth. Pulse until fine but not pureed.
- Add the ketchup and the wet ingredients and fold gently. Don’t overmix.
- Using a soup spoon, scoop into the oil flipping each side after about 1 minute or when golden brown. Serve immediately.