Chef Norman Van Aken's recipe
I have chosen conch in that the gastropod is so interwoven with the Island that people born there are referred to as “Conchs”. My son and granddaughter for instance. There was a resident of Key West in the 1970’s who was known as “The Conch Salad Man”. He rode his bicycle around town and also to the nightly Sunset Celebration selling his homemade Conch Salad by the cup or quart. His cry was, “I’m Frank! I’m the Conch Salad Man! Get your fresh Conch Salad!!”
And we did. And we do.—- Norman
2 pounds cleaned, fresh conch, diced, (or use Key West Shrimp if you prefer)
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ cup fresh lime juice
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 jalapeño or Serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
½ cup XVOO
¼ cup kosher salt, (or more to taste)
½ cucumber, peeled and diced medium, slightly salted
1 yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced small
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced small
½ cup red onion, peeled and diced small
1 cup diced fresh tomato, (skin removed)
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 ripe avocado, diced medium at the last moment
Hot Sauce, if desired
Combine all of the ingredients except the avocado in a large bowl over ice.
Stir and (if possible) refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to deepen.
When ready to serve…add in the avocado and any Hot Sauce if desired.
Serve in an attractive glass. Garnish with Lime or Lemon etc.
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