¼ pound slab bacon, rind removed and diced
½ cup olive oil
1 jalapeño, seeded, and diced
6 garlic cloves, sliced
2 Scotch Bonnets, seeded and minced
1 large onion, diced
8 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 fennel bulb, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 quart peeled plum tomatoes, crushed
1 quart tomato purée
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons each of fresh oregano and basil, chopped
1 quart fish stock
2⅔ quarts bottled clam juice
2½ pounds cleaned conch meat (preferably Caribbean-harvested conch in “#1” grade)
3 cups diced potatoes, cooked and drained (scrub, but do not peel potatoes)
- In a Dutch oven, render bacon fat with oil. Add jalapeño, followed by the next eight ingredients. Sauté briskly. Add crushed red pepper. Add tomatoes and tomato purée. Reduce heat and add bay leaves. Add herbs and simmer.
- In separate large pot, bring fish stock and clam juice just to a boil. Quickly strain mixture into the simmering soup.
- Add conch meat and potatoes. Add hot sauce to taste, boil, then serve or chill for later use.
Note: The Local Palate does not normally advocate the use of frozen or imported seafood. We make exception only for a dish such as this one—a dish with a rich history and one emblematic of a region in the South. Feel free to substitute clam meat for conch meat in an effort to be more sustainable.
- From chef Norman Van Aken of Norman's Restaurant, Orlando, Florida