Conch Fritters..Key Largo Style

Conch Fritters

1 cup conch (approx 1/2 lb, usually about 3 pieces of conch)
1 yellow bell pepper (1 cup)
1 medium onion (1 cup)
1 big garlic clove (1 tablespoon)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp Key lime juice
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp baking powder

1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp parsley
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp celery seed
1 Tbsp habanero sauce
3/4 Tbsp salt, optional
1/2 Tbsp basil
1/2 Tbsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pound conch with a rolling pin until it has flattened out (especially
the thick and hard foot), then dice into small pieces. Mix in lime
juice and tomato paste with conch in small bowl. In separate large
bowl, dice pepper, onion and garlic. Mix in spices. Mix in conch
mixture. Mix in flour, baking powder and eggs.

The mixture should be fairly thick, if you take spoon of it and
turn it upside down it should stick there for a few seconds. If
too thin, add more flour. If too thick, add a little milk. You
could also substitute a little beer for the milk if you like.rec

Get a couple of plates with napkins or paper towels handy, as well
as a tablespoon, a teaspoon, a fork, and a metal device for scooping
stuff out of hot oil.

Heat a pot of about 2 inches of cooking oil on medium heat. Stir
after a few minutes. Oil should be ready after 7 or 8 minutes,
don’t heat too fast or oil and fritters will burn.

Scoop up 1 tablespoon of fritter mixture, scrape it into oil with
teaspoon. Let cook for about 2 minutes, then roll it over with
fork (they float) and let cook on other side for about 2 minutes
or until lightly browned. Scoop out with scooper and let drain on
napkin plate. Let cool a bit and then taste. Carefully adjust
seasonings in remainder of batter to taste. Repeat this procedure
of making one fritter until you have the spices just right. The
recipe may seem like a lot of spices, but they lose their strength
when mixed with all that stuff and cooked.

Serve with lemon or lime wedges, some more habenero sauce, and plenty of cold beverages.