Cracked conch is a deep fried fish dish from the Bahamas. The conch is sliced, battered and deep-fried to form golden, crispy strips of fish, similar to calamari or deep-fried squid. Conch has a clam-like flavor and is light and tender when prepared properly.
Conch are medium-to-large sea snails found in the Bahamas, they live in large spiral shaped shells. Restaurants all over the island serve conch in various forms, with cracked conch being one of the major delicacies.
Origin & Cultural Significance
The name cracked conch referred to the process of pounding the conch with a mallet to tenderize and flatten it. ‘Cracking’ is a strenuous activity that is critical for preparing cracked conch; conch is incredibly tough and chewy if not tenderized properly. There is even a festival in McLean’s Town in the Bahamas to celebrate this tradition, where the best conch cracker is awarded a trophy!
Cracked conch can be enjoyed as a main meal for lunch or dinner, where it is commonly served with peas and rice, fries, plantain or salad. It may also be served as an appetizer with just lime juice and sauces to dip.
The origin of cracked conch can be traced back to Harbor Island; the original recipe involved coating the conch in cracker meal before deep frying to give it an extra crunchy texture. As the recipe has developed over the years flour is more commonly used than cracker meal, likely due to its accessibility.
There are a number of other ways Bahamians enjoy conch, such as in conch chowder or conch salad. In Jamaica, conch is popular in stews and curries, while in Puerto Rico conch is prepared as a ceviche where raw conch is marinated in lime juice.
- Conch filets - 1.5 lbs
- Eggs - 2
- Milk - ½ cup
- Salt - to taste
- Pepper - to taste
- Plain Flour - 1 cup
- Lime juice - to serve
- Clean conch, removing all dark meat and skin. Leaving only white meat.
- Tenderize white meat with a mallet until it’s thin and flat.
- Slice the flattened conch into strips.
- Crack your eggs into a bowl and add the milk, salt and pepper. Beat together to combine fully.
- Dip each conch strip in the egg mixture to coat fully.
- Roll in the flour, ensuring the outside of the conch is completely covered.
- Heat your oil in a pan until hot.
- Gently add each conch strip to the oil and fry.
- Cook the conch for 3-5 minutes, until it is golden-brown.
- Remove the conch from the oil and place on a plate with a paper towel on to soak up the excess oil.
- Allow to cool slightly, squeeze some lime juice on top and serve with your choice of sides.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 596Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 273mgSodium: 512mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 43g