Caribbean Conch Chowder with Conch Fritters
- 3 slices bacon, diced
- 4 whole allspice berries
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers
- 1 Scotch bonnet (habanero) pepper, stemmed, seeded, and minced, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh garlic
- 4 cups seeded and chopped fresh tomatoes, with their juices
- 6 cups shellfish stock or clam juice
- 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, quartered
- 2 pounds cleaned and diced conch meat
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
- Caribbean Conch Fritters, recipe follows
- Caribbean Conch Fritters:
- 2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped white onions
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped red bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced jalapeno peppers
- 1/2 teaspoon Essence, plus more for seasoning, recipe follows
- 2 cups steamed or par-boiled and finely diced conch meat (about 1 pound)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup whole milk
- Dash hot red pepper sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley leaves
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
In a large pot, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon.
To the fat in the pan, add the onions, celery, carrots, and bell peppers and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the hot pepper and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Add the bouquet garni, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. Add the conch and cook until the meat is tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Add the lime juice and parsley, stir to combine, and adjust the seasoning to taste.
Ladle into soup bowls with several fritters served in each bowl. Serve hot.Caribbean Conch Fritters:
In a saute pan or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, peppers, and Essence and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the conch and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
Into a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the egg, milk, and pepper sauce and mix to make a thick batter. Stir in the parsley and the cooled conch mixture.
In a large deep saute pan or cast iron skillet, heat enough oil to come 2 to 3 inches up the sides of the pan to 350 degrees F.
Drop the batter, a heaping tablespoon at a time, into the oil and cook, turning once, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season with Essence and serve hot.
Yield: about 3 1/2 dozenEmeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
Yield: 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch
Published by William and Morrow, 1993.