Plate Tectonics – Anguilla

Plate Tectonics – Anguilla

For Anguilla, I was interested in making these conch fritters.
I wanted to do something with conch, and Jessica just got a deep fryer for Christmas.
(from her really really really good friend that is making a meal from every country in the world with her.)

So we decided to make Rum Conch Fritters with Tamarind sauce, Pigeon Peas with Rice, Shrimp Fritters, and a punch my friend Katie found on the internets.
Here is that punch.
It was a mix of sparkling lime juice, pineapple juice, and muddled oranges. With a sprinkling of nutmeg!
Some of the folks there added some rum..
I didn’t. Because.. You know. I’m an alcoholic.

I also did a reprise of that passion fruit mousse.
Turns out, I didn’t blend it enough the first time.
Shows what I know.

Conch was something I’d never used before..
When I went to my favorite fish market, Empire Fish, I talked to the guy behind the counter about it.
They had frozen and canned.
He said he was from Hawaii, and made conch fritters there all the time.
He said I should use the canned, because the frozen could get a bit tough.

Everything I heard about conch was that it gets tough MEGA easily.
It kinda freaked me out!
It has kept me from trying it for years.

When I opened the can, though, and poured these guys into a bowl…
I have to tell you that it was pretty much love at first sight.

So delicate and pretty looking.
I feel the same way about these things as I do about sea scallops.
And really, I think I need a break from sea scallops.
I ate nothing but for a while there.
The conch has opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

I sauteed them in a bit of olive oil and garlic.
Crazy water snails, dipped in olive oil and garlic.
Not for long..
The olive oil and garlic first, then the conch.
And only for about a minute and a half at medium-high heat.
We tried them after that.

But no.
We put them in a food processor.
(which seemed like such a disservice afterward)

We added the bread crumbs, dark rum, turmeric, ginger, salt, and chicken stock.
It was all pastey.
And really, the delicate flavor of the conch was lost.
I think if I were to make this again, I would make sure to add big chunks of conch?
I don’t know.
The curry really wiped out any semblance of seafood flavor.
(They were delicious! Don’t get me wrong!)

I forgot to take pictures of the tamrind sauce and pigeon peas and rice prep.
I was a little enamored with the conch.
Sue me.

We also made these shrimp fritters.
They are completely different.
It’s like.. A regular doughnut vs. a cake doughnut.
A hush puppy to a bread ball.
I don’t think I seasoned them well enough, either.

Anguillan feast.

My thing now is ordering cookbooks.
I’d like to have a cookbook from every country when I’m done.
How fun would that be??!
I just went to Barnes and Noble, and wrote down about a billion books that I wanted.
If you like me, you should buy me one.

Here is the recipe for the Arroz con Gandules(pigeon peas with rice).
We got it from the Caribbean cookbook I have in my possession.
We did not make sofrito.
We purchased it from a nice Mexican grocery..
The rice turned out AMAZING.
Juan keeps asking me about the last time I made something that tasted bad.
That first passion fruit mousse was garbage.


Arroz con Gandules
8 oz dried pigeon peas
8 cups water
4 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
1 cup sofrito
1 small green pepper chopped
4 olive pitted and chopped
1 tsp capers
2 cups rice, rinsed

Soak peas overnight. Boil in slated water until tender about one hour.

Heat oil in pan. Add sofrito and pepper cook for 3 minutes. Add olives and capers saute for 4 minutes.

Drain peas, keep 2 1/2 cups liquid. Add peas and rice to the pan, stir well, cook over high heat for 4 minutes. Add reserved liquid from peas and cook over medium heat until most but not all of the water is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.