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Cook it in a broth, add it to salads, fry it, or eat it raw with a sauce of your choice; you’ve got yourself a delicious dinner with Conch.
For hardcore seafood lovers, conch is a true Caribbean Archipelago delicacy; for others — a rubbery and soft meat minus the fishy smell that they are not really keen on.
Today, we will explain everything you need to know about Conch and hopefully convince you that you are truly missing out on a terrific seafood dish. Because why should seafood lovers only limit their taste buds to fish, shrimp, and crabs? Some mollusks like Conch might just be your new seafood favorite.
But what does Conch taste like? And more importantly, what exactly is Conch?
What is conch?
Pronounced as Konk in America and Conch in the UK, Conch belongs to the mollusk family. Put simply; they are large-sized sea snails native to multiple parts of the world.
These snails are typically known for their characteristic shells, made of two parts:
- Spire — the coiled part of the shell
- Siphon — an opening in the shell that is used to draw water inside
From Queen Conch present in the waters from Florida to Brazil to True Conch belonging to the family Strombidae to Spider Conch with two long prongs on their shell openings, there are a ton of different Conch types. You’ll never get bored of eating these delicious sea treats.
Although Conchs are perfectly safe when eaten, their sting can be incredibly deadly.
What does conch taste like?
Conch tastes like a combination of fish such as salmon, crab, and crayfish. While it doesn’t have a strong flavor or taste, it is slightly salty. It has a rubbery and chewy texture when raw, Conch softens when cooked.
Conchs have the same texture as clams when cooked. However, unlike clams, Conchs have no fishy after-taste. For those who don’t like the fishy seafood smell, give this fresh-tasting wonder of the sea a try today.
Whether you’re a Conch lover or just someone experimental, keep an eye out for Conchs with thin-lipped shells. These thin shells are the source of the most delicious and tender meat. As the Conchs mature and the shells become thick-lipped, the meat becomes chewier and more rubbery.
Where does conch come from?
These shelled snails are native to the turquoise blue waters of the Bahamas. However, today, Conchs are harvested in several regions worldwide, including the Caribbean Coasts, the Florida Keys, and the Bermudas.
The Bahamas are still the biggest harvesters and suppliers of Conchs. In fact, around 400 tons of Conchs were harvested in the Bahamas in 2015, and almost 200 tons of the meat were exported. Since then, the numbers have only increased.
Interesting Fact: Conchs are mainly harvested by free diving.
Divers hold their breath to go into the water and find these snails. Since Conchs are located on the seabed, that’s definitely no easy feat.
Once the divers catch hold of a Conch, the shell is cracked, the snail harvested, and the meat is sent straight to our tables to feast upon.
Conch meat can cost a whopping $50 for a five-pound box. But don’t let the price tag let you down. Because Conch meat is so beneficial and incredibly tasty, the price is definitely worth it. After all, all good things come at a price!
How to eat conch?
Fresh conch meat is loved all around the world. Why shouldn't it be, though? Something that has all the benefits of seafood but none of the fishy taste? Count me in.
If you’re up for a tasty meal, here are all the ways you can eat Conch meat.
While this might sound odd, raw Conch meat is actually quite popular. Since eating raw meat can lead to salmonella, you need to ensure it is hygienically sourced and packaged.
Try pairing the raw Conch with a zesty sauce or add some citrus juices. The acidity and sweetness from the sauce will flavor and cook the Conch.
Cooked in broth
Given that the Bahamas is abundant in Conchs, it’s no surprise that the people have tons of recipes to cook the meat. To tenderize the meat, use a mallet or rolling pin and pound the meat flat. The pounding breaks apart the meat, and it forms a cutlet. Kind of like a chicken cutlet, but definitely more beneficial and flavorful.
If a mallet isn’t your style, fret not. You can simply pop the meat in boiling water for 45-60 mins to soften it.
Switch the water with seasoned broth, and you have an easy Conch dish you can enjoy anytime. Depending on your preference, the broth can be either water-based or milk-based, depending on preference and dish. (Personally, I love using a milk-based broth for a rich base)
Looking for something fried but still keeping it healthy? Try the fried conch fritters. Simply cut the meat into small pieces, give them a bath in milk and egg, and dip them in seasoned flour. A little oil, a lot of sizzle, and a little bit of patience will make a simple yet mouthwatering dish.
Added to salads
Forget the tasteless, boring salads. Adding Conch to your salads might just be the best thing to keep those green salads delicious and versatile. Conch salad can be made in both raw and cooked forms:
- Raw - Simply marinate raw Conch meat in a sauce of your choice and add it to the salad. Yes, it’s that.
- Cooked - Boil or fry the Conch and toss it in with your favorite veggies.
What is the nutritional value of conch?
Not only is this Caribbean delicacy absolutely delicious, but it is also packed with nutrients. In fact, a single serving of 3 ounces of Conch contains a mere 11 calories, 1 gram of fat, and a whopping 22.4 grams of protein.
What’s more, it is abundant in Omega fatty acids that do wonders for your heart and eye health. Eating Conch regularly can decrease your risk of developing heart diseases.
Packed with 1.4 grams of carbohydrates, Conch will provide a good dose of energy on days you feel low. Plus, it is full of Vitamin A and iron.
Interesting Fact: The nutritional profile of Conch means it’s incredibly helpful for easing migraines.
All in all, Conch is a true seafood delicacy that is safe to eat, healthy, and most importantly, incredibly tasty. However, proper preparation is required to remove the Conch from its hard shell completely, and it should be thoroughly cleaned before consumption.
Fun conch facts
- Did you know Conchs produced pearls? Yes, that’s right! Not only do Conchs produce pearls, but they make them in various pretty colors — Brown, pink, red, and white.
- No wonder Conch meat is so expensive! Conch takes 5 to 17 years to grow and mature fully.
- You can use Conch shells in China to improve menopause symptoms.
- Is an upset stomach making you cranky? Get your hands on a Conch shell already! Water left in the Conch shell overnight can be consumed the next morning to cure stomach pain and indigestion.
- Sick of white hair and artificial hair dyes? Use water in Conch shells to restore your hair color naturally.
- Forget about expensive eye creams. Simply rub Conch shells on your eyes to lighten dark circles.
- Did you know that Conch shells have been a part of Hindu religious services for ages? The Conch shell is blown in religious rites, and even their gods are depicted carrying the shells in religious art.
That covers everything you need to know about Conch and what it tastes like.
There is more to seafood than simply salmon, crab, and lobsters, and one of them is Conch.
Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what makes Conch such an absolute must-have delicacy and a highly sought out dish among seafood lovers.
Packed with several health benefits and plenty of essential nutrients, you are definitely missing out if you haven’t given Conch a try yet!