You’ve probably seen conch shells when you go on holiday, and you may have even bought some as souvenirs. But have you ever wondered what does conch taste like?
We take a look at this seafood, how it’s served and its nutritional value.
What Is Conch?
Conch is the common name given to various sea snails. The conch shell is very recognizable and has a distinctive shape coming to a noticeable point at both ends. Different types of conch have different colored shells.
The conch which is indigenous to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean is the queen conch. Its scientific name is lobatus gigas. These conches are valued as seafood but are also used as fishing bait.
In the US it is proposed that the queen conch be considered a threatened species. Along with the queen conch, the dog conch is another of what are considered true conches.
These are part of the family Strombidae and are marine gastropod molluscs.
Other species are often called ‘conch’ but are actually not related to the family Strombidae.
These include the so-called horse conch and sacred chank which belong to different families. The Triton trumpet is also sometimes referred to as a conch.
Ways To Serve Conch
All parts of conch meat are edible and many are eaten raw in salads. Others are cooked in chowder, fritters, gumbos or burgers.
In the Bahamas where the conch is indigenous they are typically served in salads, fritters or soups.
Conch is also eaten in Jamaica and other parts of the West Indies. Jamaicans eat conch in stews, and curries, and it is commonly served in Jamaican restaurants.
In Grenada, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic conch is referred to as lambi and is also served in spicy soups and curries.
Conch is served as a ceviche in Puerto Rico, and consists of raw conch in lime juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, onions and green pepper.
It is also popular in Europe, particularly in Italy and is eaten in a variety of ways including in pasta sauce and salads. East Asian cuisine often uses conch sliced thinly and either stir-fried or steamed.
Does Conch Taste Good?
So with all of these different ways of serving conch, you may be wondering what does conch taste like?
From the kind of dishes listed above you may have already guessed that the taste of conch is not very distinctive. In fact, it doesn’t taste of much, except perhaps a hint of saltiness.
If you want to describe the flavor it would be a mixture of crab and salmon, so not very strong. This is why most people add it to spicy and strongly flavored dishes. The texture of conch is soft and rubbery when chewed.
One thing that conch doesn’t have is a fishy smell, and it is great when eaten raw as sushi or salad.
Nutritional Value Of Conch
Conch is a good source of nutrients and is very low in calories. A 3 ounce serving of conch has only 11 calories with just 1 gram of fat and more than 22 grams of protein. It is a good source of omega fatty acids.
Queen conch is rich in protein and low in fat, but it is high in cholesterol. It provides high levels of vitamin E and vitamin B12, folate, magnesium and selenium.
A 3 ½ ounce serving of queen conch has just 130 calories, 26.3 grams of protein, 1.2 grams of total fats.
However, it does have 65 milligrams of cholesterol and 153 milligrams of sodium. There are no sugars and no fiber in conch, and it provides 40.3 micrograms of selenium.
How To Cook Conch
One of the best ways to cook conch is to make fritters with a coating of crunchy breadcrumbs.
The contrast between the soft, tender conch and the crispy outer layer is wonderful, particularly when dipped in a good tartare sauce.
As it is such a mild flavor, conch often needs stronger flavors to bring out the best in this seafood. This is why so many people put it in curries, spicy soups and eat it as a ceviche.
Dipping raw conch in a sauce with some lemon zest helps to bring out the delicate flavor and the acidity and sweetness will tenderize the conch.
It is recommended that you tenderize the conch with a mallet before cooking. You should also slice it thinly and cook it gently
If you want to have a go and cook conch yourself try one of our recipes below for either main dishes or as appetizers.
1. Garlic Conch
You’ll need a pound of conch for this recipe and some flavoring ingredients. Preparation time is just 10 minutes but cooking time is 1 hour. This dish can be used as an appetizer or as a main course and will provide six servings.
This is a traditional Bahamian recipe for conch fritters with a delicious dipping sauce. They are really quick and easy to make with preparation time being 15 minutes and the same for cooking time.
This recipe yields enough for eight servings.
We hope that this guide to what conch tastes like has been helpful and informative.
Perhaps it has encouraged you to try conch if you never have before and if so, we hope you enjoyed it.