Floridian Conch Salad RecipeOctober 22, 2014 by Keith Wallace
Florida, the “Sunshine State,” is my home. One of the few, true Floridians, I was born in Miami, Florida at Mount Sinai Hospital on Miami Beach. You might know it as “South Beach” now.
As a young kid, I stayed in the kitchen on the side of my mother, watching her make a variety of wonderful dishes. Dishes like collard greens, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken and sweet potato pie!
As I got older, I liked the idea of working in kitchens one day, but I wasn’t sure what kind of dishes I would like to prepare. With Florida being a melting pot of many different cultures, it was a very hard decision to figure out the type of cuisine I would like to concentrate on. So, I dabbled with a little bit of everything. I cooked Cuban dishes like paella, Jamaican dishes like jerk chicken, and Puerto Rican dishes like pigeon peas and yellow rice.
Being so close to the islands and to Key West you also had items like lobster, shrimp and fresh fish daily… and my favorite – conch!
Back in 1990 my family decided to open a Conch Restaurant and who would be a better chef for that? Yes, they asked me to help out. In Miami, conch is a sought-after delicacy, and there are many different ways it can be prepared. You can fry conch, make it into a fritter, or a salad (better known as “ceviche”).
But, there were a few challenges, like the conch fritter. Growing up, our fritter looked like a pancake, and it didn’t make much sense to hire someone just to stand in front of a black cast-iron pan and cook conch fritters. So, I figured out if I took a 2 ounce scoop and dropped the batter inside the deep fryer it would be more cost effective. 1990 was the beginning of conch balls. I know you might laugh but, yes, I am the original conch ball maker!
The recipe I’ll be leaving you with is conch salad, also known as “ceviche.”
- 1/2 pound (225 g) Conch
- 1/2 cup (120 g) Roma Tomato
- 1/4 cup (120 g) Red and Green Bell Pepper
- 1/4 cup (60 g) Red Onion
- 2 – 5.5 ounce cans (310 mL) Tomato Juice
- 1 Navel Orange (or Sour Orange)
- 2 Limes
- 1 Lemon
- 1 bunch Cilantro
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Cayenne Pepper (to taste)
Directions – Conch Salad
- Start by combining diced onion, red and green pepper, remove seeds from the tomatoes and dice (mirepoix).
- Clean and dice conch and add to (mirepoix).
- Finish with fresh chopped cilantro, add salt and pepper to taste. Then refrigerate.
Directions – Conch Salad Sauce
- Juice 1 large navel orange, 2 limes and l lemon, make sure to strain juice for seeds.
- Add two cans of tomato juice, salt pepper and cayenne to taste.
- Do not add citrus to ceviche until ready to serve.
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