Conch Meat Prep for Recipes
Alright, well now you have some conch, out of the conch shell.
What is the next step?
That depends on which dish you are going to prepare.
Here are the basic steps for cleaning conch meat in preperation for your recipes.
I am sharing the steps for cleaning conch but you are better off paying for conch that is already cleaned.
It is not an easy task and the locals make it look real easy!
You may want to leave the hook on for a handle this makes it easier to grab
Place the conch body with the eyes face up and cut off the projection above the eyes and the proboscis.
Cut out the esophagus that lays under the skin from the proboscis to the ragged edge of the muscle.
Find the intestine, which is a dark vein on the underside of the white muscle, and cut it out.
Slice through the skin from the bottom of the conch meat to the claw and use your thumb or knife to pull the tough skin off. Then remove the claw.
Wash the conch
a face only a mother could love!
The orange tails are cut off and only used primarily for Conch salad, ceviche or fritters
where the conch meat will be put through the food processor.
Here is the conch meat cleaned and ready.
Let’s face it, cleaning your own conch is probably not an option,
unless you do it ALL the time it is worth the investment to get it already cleaned by a pro.
Now let’s get on to preparing it for your recipes!
First off there are steps that you are ALWAYS going to use
1. Fritters – beaten, cut up and processed fine
2. Salad or ceviche – beaten cut up and processed fine
3. Stew or Chowder – Beaten, cut up processed medium and boiled
4. Cracked (fried) Conch – Beaten, cut to desired size and Soaked in milk and vinegar
Now keep reading to get the details on each tenderizing process
1. Tenderize with a beater
No matter what recipe you are using you will need to use a tenderizer such as this beater pictured below. A nice heavy Beater is necessary for the best results. The pros use a crank type machine and run it through a few times. Below is a picture of conch being prepared to fry and make cracked conch. It will then get soaked in milk and vinegar to complete the process. That is pictured below and is NOT required for all recipes, only the fried version.
2. Cut up into chunks before adding to a food processor
If you are preparing conch for a salad – ceviche, stew, fritters or any other chopped version you will need to cut the conch into smaller pieces before adding it to the recipe. The processor CAN replace beating. The key is to break up the structure of the meat and the smaller you process it to then the less likely you will need to beat it first. Below is conch that has NOT been beaten, it is getting prepared to go into the processor.
Cutting up to add to processor
Larger chunks processed medium to be boiled and used in stew or chowder
The conch pictured above is going to be used for conch salad / ceviche and fritters. It has been run through the processor until chopped fine. The bright orange bits are the tails pictured above. When you process this fine you can use the tougher portions and not waste any meat.
3.Boiling the conch for about a half hour is necessary when using the conch in a stew or chowder.
It is boiled while the other ingredients are prepared.
One word of CAUTION!
When boiling conch it WILL FOAM UP a couple of times.
you must be right there at the beginning of the process to scoop out the foam.
Be ready with a large spoon and bowl to collect the foam as it is formed.
That way you avoid an overflow onto your stove.
You will want to boil the conch for about a half an hour or so.