Nancy and I spent a month in Southern Florida, the Keys and the Bahamas a little while back and one of the things that I developed an unhealthy affection for during this trip was Conch Fritters. I got to the point that if we stopped for lunch or a snack anywhere I just had to try their conch fritters and see what they were like. I know full well that this was not the most healthy thing to eat on a regular basis but when you find a good conch fritter it is so very worth the time doing cardio that you will need to work them off.
The best version of the conch fritter that I tasted was in Nassau just off the pier at a small hole in the wall place called Da Junkanoo Shack. We wandered into this place after asking locals where a good place to eat would be that wasn’t going to have many tourists. They were right about the crowds, we were the only people there at the time. It was here that I got my first taste of great conch fritters (and the cracked conch was good too)
Since that day in the sweltering heat of Nassau I was on a mission to find good conch fritters everywhere we went on our trip. I found some pretty good versions but also was unfortunate enough to taste some that I’d not serve to my enemy’s dog. One of the best tasting fritters we found were at a place on the side of the highway on the way from the mainland to the keys that I’d heard about from fellow riders and Nancy also found in our guide book. It’s a place called Alabama Jack’s and it’s one of those colorful roadside stops where guys like me love to drop in and rest after hours on the seat of our bikes. You need to get off the main highway and take a smaller road to find them, but that’s what a road trip is all about.
I just happened to stumble on this recipe while researching various versions of the conch fritter and could not believe my eyes, finding a recipe from a small yet popular place that is off the beaten path is a rare thing and I was not going to let the chance go. I have not made this recipe and am only going on the fact that it says it’s from Alabama Jacks, but the ingredients sure do fit. I’ll be updating this post in the future when I’ve tried these and will let you know.
I’m aware that finding fresh conch is going to be a very difficult thing for many who are reading this but if you head down to your local Asian market you may well get lucky. I am able to get small but live conch as well as frozen meat in the local T&T Market here in Calgary, you may be just as lucky.
- 1 pound conch meat, pounded and chopped
- 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1/4 cup onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 cup beer
- oil for frying
- In a medium bowl, combine conch with the next 8 ingredients
- Add beer and mix until well combined
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours
- Bring deep fryer or oil in a skillet to 350°F
- Using a large spoon add heaping spoonfuls of batter to oil one at a time (fry no more than 6 fritters at once)
- Cook fritters for about 5 minutes, turning until golden brown on both sides
- Remove and drain on paper towel.
Dip for fritters
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon hot sauce
- salt and pepper to taste