Quick conch meals at your fingertips
According to William Greenwood, before he arrived in Jamaica in September of 2010, he wasn't even aware of what was conch.
When I first heard the word, I assumed, and was surprised, that Jamaicans were familiar with the English slang word for nose, which is 'conk'. On having it explained and shown to me, I was greeted with a feeling of familiarity. That perfectly formed, beautiful pink shell that has been ingrained in cultural folklore for hundreds of years and depicted in famous artworks and storybooks. My first experience of eating conch was all it required for me to fall in love with it. Cooked in foil with some basic seasonings in its own juices … yes. I can live with this. Definitely.
Over the last few years, I've had conch cooked in all the traditional Caribbean ways - whether curried, in soup, baked or stir-fried. This week, I had the opportunity to try an exciting new product, courtesy of the Port Royal Street-based B&D Trawling Ltd in downtown Kingston. The company exports seafood, including conch, sea cucumber and lobster, and I was honoured to try out the new product.
As I approached the venue, I could smell the welcoming scent of burning charcoal.
On the grill was the new product from B&D Trawling: Conch Skewers. The skewers were packed with conch, sweet peppers, red onions, and tomatoes. As the skewers sat on the grill, I knew I was in for a real treat here. I'd never had grilled/barbecued conch, and never in a kebab-style like this.
Minutes later, dinner was served. The conch skewers were served with seasoned yellow rice and steamed broccoli. The conch tasted incredibly fresh; that 'straight-from-the-sea' flavour hit my taste buds immediately, followed by the wonderful natural saltiness of the conch, mixed with the sweetness of the peppers and red onions, as well as the acidity of the tomatoes - a perfect combination. A literal 'party in my mouth'.
Another thing that really pleased me about dinner was the host's willingness to educate me on not only the product, but also the mollusc itself - very interesting stuff! I like to know what I'm eating, where it comes from, how it's farmed (or in this case, caught). B&D is a proud Jamaican company that specialises in the packaging and processing of seafood to export markets, including Vietnam and Korea. The company will be venturing into retail with a small outlet at its headquarters in downtown Kingston later this month.
In the current economic climate with importation at an all-time high, and exports on the decline, I was very happy to be eating a true Jamaican product.
I probably won't eat conch cooked any other way from this day forward. Seriously!"
8 B&D Trawling Kebabs
2 packs Maggi fish seasoning
2/3 cup onion, very finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Small Scotch bonnet pepper, minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons salted butter
4 limes wedges, for serving
1 large yellow sweet pepper
1 large green sweet pepper
4 cooking tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Grill for approximately seven minutes on each side. Serve with your choice of side.