I just moved back to NYC from my birthplace, the Turks and Caicos Islandsâ€”also known as land of conch (pronounced conk/ Turks and Caicos is the only place in the world to have a conch farm)â€”and today I am craving conch salad so much that I can taste the tiny chunks of barely-dead, citrus-kissed seafood still salty from the ocean marinating in my saliva.
It’s so weird how quickly your reality changes. Just a week and a half ago, I was sitting at Da Conch Shack with my friends, feet buried in the sand munching on conch salad, conch fritters and fried plantain and sipping homemade rum punch. And now I don’t know when I’ll taste TCI’s “chicken of the sea” again. And while I’m not a huge shellfish eater, I do wish I had eaten more conch while at home. I like my conch fresh from the sea (although some may disagree with me. There is an old TCI song that says, “The old conch is sweeter than the fresh conch/Especially when you put it in peas and rice/The old conch will make you feel so nice”) and am therefore hesitant to order it from anywhere in North America (expect maybe for the Florida Keys). So, I’ve settle for rehashing the conch salad experience for you folks.
This last step is my favoriteâ€”eating!!! I find that conch salad goes best with plantain chips, cassava (yucca) chips or yellow corn tortilla chips and an ice-cold light beer with a salted lime. Mmmmm. I can hear the sound of salt water lazily flopping itself against the shore, the squeak of seagulls circling around your fresh-caught conch and the crack of the hammer meeting the conch shell…
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