An Antiguan Favourite – Yummy Conch Fritters!

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Conch shell on a beach.

Ever tried conch fritters?

If you’ve ever been to St. Johns, Antigua long enough, you would’ve had the pleasure to taste a local conch fritter. They are special on this island, we believe because of a combination of the spices. Maybe it’s the Scotch Bonnet Pepper or the Shadow Beni herbs mixed with my favourite, cilantro, that makes it so different.

Do note, when you’re done frying the fritters and drying them on paper, you can eat them as they are or dip them in a lovely sauce of your choice.

This is a recipe from Caribbean chef, Nicole Arthurton Dennis of Nicole’s Table that I adjusted to make it gluten free. Instead of using regular flour, I substituted it with almond flour. I also used coconut oil to fry them in because of the unique flavor and health benefits of using coconut oil. Coconut oil also has a very high heating point, so is well-suited to frying.

Lastly, if you’re not in the Caribbean it may be a bit difficult to find conch meat. Therefore, I used scallops, cut into small pieces instead of conch. It tastes just as good and quite similar to conch, albeit a little different in texture.

Conch fritters.

But what is a conch and where do I get it?

Conchs can be found all over the Caribbean, in the oceans around many islands. It is nearly a staple food there. Conch shells are used as decorations and even added to cement to build walls and other structures. Conch (pronounced “konk”) is a common name for medium- to large-sized sea snail or shells. In North America, a conch is often called a queen conch, indigenous to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lbs conch, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Sweet (bell) pepper, chopped
  • 1 Medium onion, chopped
  • 5 Leaves of herb (coloantro, shadow bennie, cilantro, basil or thyme)
  • 1 Stalk celery, chopped
  • ¼ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ to ½ Scotch bonnet pepper, minced (optional… but you have to love them!)
  • 1 ¼ Cups almond flour
  • ½ Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ Cups water

Method

Place all the ingredients conch thru scotch bonnet pepper into a large mixing bowl. Working in batches place 1/3 of the ingredients into a blender along with 1/3 cup of water, and blend for 10 seconds. Pour the blended mixture into a second mixing bowl, continue until the process until all the ingredients have been blended.

Sift the flour and the baking together, and add to the blended conch mixture. The batter should be the consistency of cake batter. Should you need to add more water add a little bit at a time.

Heat the coconut oil over medium heat, when the oil reaches 375 degrees drop tablespoon size balls into the hot oil. Turn over the fritter when the edges are golden brown, continue to cook until the entire fritter is golden brown. Drain the fritters on a paper towel and place on serving plate.

Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!

By Liz Piano.