I love to do Wine Food Pairing with foods that are outside of mainstream America, so for this adventure I crossed the “Gulf” stream and cruised over to the Bahamas! Bimini, Bahamas, only 42 miles east of Miami, is an easy day trip in your boat and until last January 2007 you could “catch” your own conch for supper. I say catch, but they really don’t move too fast…..in fact barely at all. At this time, with the new Bahamian regulations in place, only Bahamian citizens can harvest the “mollusk” beast.
This last April, when friends and I had a Bimini Bash, we had to wait for the “conch” dude to arrive with his catch. Cruising up to the dock in a 12 foot unpainted flats boat was the “man” dressed in a bright purple wet suit, his boat laden with the delightful Queen Conch (pronounced “konk”). Bargaining begins…how many… do we want him to clean them…of course…would we like to keep the shells for souvenirs…maybe…OK, for a few dollars and a couple of cold Budweiser’s we struck a deal.
Now the fun begins! Before I really get into the prep of this tasty treat I open up an icy cold bottle of Kalik….that’s beer brewed in the Bahamas and excellent with a squeeze of lime……I like mine over ice with a straw, but that’s my own little secret….most people just like the lime. Preparation of cracked conch can be thirsty work! Once the conch is totally cleaned and I have removed all of the orange and black “parts”, I slice it into ¼ inch slices so that I have little fillets. Next I bring out my conch “whacker”…..this device strikes fear into the heart of my husband….I guess because I enjoy this part way too much! Place the fillets on a plastic cutting board and begin to “whack” the heck out of them….I like mine tenderized to the point of being able to read a newspaper through it.
Now dredge it in seasoned flour, dip in beaten egg, then re-dredge and place on a plate…..in the meantime heat some butter in a sauce pan ( I didn’t say this was heart healthy!)…..this is best done outside if at all possible because of the mess it makes, but if there is fire it will work anywhere. Gently sauté the fillets on both sides until golden brown and place on a paper towel to drain.
OK, now we’re really ready to get down to business…..what wine do we pair with this Bahamian delicacy? One of my favorites is a clean, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from France to compliment the conch.
I plate up the conch with fresh sliced lime on the side, my preferred accent and in addition I throw together a quick tartar of miracle whip and pickled relish….hey in the Bahamas you use what you can find! Wine Food Pairing…..fresh cracked conch, chilled Sauvignon Blanc, good friends….what more could you want? Cheers!