Lake Michigan, my heart belongs to you. But a trial separation is essential to my well being. You’ve been naughty of late, frozen over in fact, so I’m seeing the Caribbean. When your temperature rises, and not in keeping with that of the North Pole, we can mend our ways.
Yes. It’s cold outside. Yes. I’m fortunate to have escaped; luckier still to have enjoyed a boating trip that explored the islands of Turks and Caicos while we savored the fruits from her seas. Here’s the resulting sea-to-table recipe for conch salad, simply prepared on the boat within minutes of them harvesting the grass beds in shallow waters of the turquoise sea.
You may not have ever tasted conch, but I’m sure you’ve seen the shell; the size of a grapefruit with horned spikes and a pearlescent pink interior. The animal that resides within the confines of this palace is actually a snail, with a meat that is eaten raw in salads, also enjoyed cooked in fritters, chowders and burgers. All parts of the conch meat are edible, but most prefer the white meat that resembles a chicken breast fillet. The dark meat is edible, but often reserved to use as bait or fillers.
Unless you’re living in southern Florida, South America or the Caribbean, fresh conch is hard to find. But if you’re living in Ann Arbor, you may sometimes purchase fresh conch meat from Monahans Seafood in Kerrytown. I also located a source in Chaleston where you may have it shipped to your home.
Bay scallops, sliced sea scallops or shrimp are excellent substitutes for the conch in the following recipe.
There are as many variations on ceviche as the countries who enjoy it. Fresh ginger is often added to the marinade, varieties of corn are added in Peruvian recipes–sweet potatoes in Equadorian.
Better yet; table some vacation time for late next November; the 13th annual conch festival will again be held in Turks and Caicos.