I was recently in Bimini, the Northernmost Island of the Bahamas, where it is a rite of passage, so to speak, to try the Conch Salad while there. You can find conch shells literally in every nook and cranny of this island that is only 50 miles from Fort Lauderdale, as conch salad is served at every watering hole on the island. The shells are a result of the island’s main attraction, second only to the sport fishing and Kalik Beer.
In essence, Conch Salad is merely ceviche made with conch instead of shrimp or white fish. Ceviche is a Latin American favorite that consists of a white fish or shrimp salad that has been cooked by the acid of the lime and lemon juice it is marinted in. Conch salad consists of chopped up conch, plenty of lime juice, chopped onions, green and red peppers and garlic salt. Pretty simple really.
The Latins all have their own version of ceviche and there are two basic bases: white base (citrus) or red base (ketchup). The Ecuadorians tend to do the Ketchup version, and I have learned that more often than not they do parboil the fish or shrimp first, then use a ketchup and citrus base. In the Peruvian Style it is typical to find cooked sweet or white potatoes, corn or maize as an addition.
The Basic Ceviche Recipe consists of these staple ingredients:
chopped chili peppers
white vinegar (2-2 tblespoons)
** marinate the fish in the citrus mixture for at least 3 hours to let the fish cook in the juices. My Costa Rican friends add garlic, tomato and cilantro to their mixture. My friend Silvia adds chopped avocado as a garnish to her traditional Peruvian (BASIC) ceviche.
Ceviche is a healthy and lite dish for hot summers. Put your own spin on this recipe and please share your specialty recipes with me!!
** My friend Erin lived in Nicaragua for a while and reminded me that the white vinegar is good to add as it balances the citrus taste and also helps kill any bacteria that might get you sick.