Living so close to the Florida Keys, I have no excuse to not make Conch Fritters. I developed this recipe and have refined it over the years. It’s really good, really simple and a big crowd pleaser. The best tip I can give you on these is to make them just before you serve them. Making these in advance compromises the color, taste and texture of these little balls of conch love. But if you have to make them in advance, refrigerate until ready to serve. Warm them through in a preheated 350ºF oven for 7 to 10 minutes.
Makes 3 Dozen Small Fritters
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1 Lb. Ground Cooked Conch Meat
½ Cup Red Onion, Finely Diced
½ Cup Red Bell Pepper, Finely Diced
1 Jalapeno Pepper, Seeds Removed and Finely Diced
3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Chili Powder
¼ Teaspoon Ancho Chili Powder
¼ Teaspoon Chipotle Powder
1 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
3 Large Eggs
1½ Cups Milk
1 Teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ Cup Flat Leaf Parsley, Finely Chopped
3½ Cups All-Purpose Flour
Vegetable, Cannola or Peanut Oil for Frying
In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the conch, red onion, red bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic and sauté until warm and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl combine the baking powder, chili powder, ancho chili powder, chipotle powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, Tabasco, Worcestershire, and parsley. Add the baking powder-spice mix and blend well. Gradually add the flour, ½ cup at a time, continually beating until all the flour is added. Stir in the cooled sautéed conch mixture. Put fritter batter in a container with a lid and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before deep-frying.
Heat the oil to 350ºF in a deep fryer or a deep large pan such as a Dutch oven. (Use only enough oil to fill the pan up half way.) Drop the batter by heaping tablespoon, or use a small ice cream scoop, into the heated oil. When the fritters pop up to the surface roll them around to promote evening browning (wooden chopsticks work well here). Remove to a wire rack set over a sheet pan lined with paper towels and drain. Season the fritters immediately with a sprinkling of fine sea salt while still hot.
Serve with Key Lime Chili Sauce or Traditional Cocktail Sauce and Wedges of Lemon.