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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Turks & Caicos Conch Festival 2011

While vacationing in Turks and Caicos, our timing was right that we were lucky enough to attend the 8th Annual Conch Festival in Provo. Just across the road from the beach in the Blue Hills area, we stuffed ourselves with a number of conch dishes, including the Princess conch from Bay Bistro, filled with mushrooms and a garlic cream sauce, and topped with Parmesan cheese, red pepper pesto and a sprinkling of parsley. It was easy to understand why the clever conch concoction was the winner of the year!

LinkWe also enjoyed a sampling of the classic island Friger-Gie stew, with coconut, milk, and plantains. The glorious Grace Bay Club's Anacaona restaurant provided a spicier, reinvigorated ancient-style conch stew, made with Scotch bonnet peppers and lime juice in a rich red sauce.

Here's the cavorting conch-loving crowd inside the tent!

Chef Eric Vernice from the Regent Palms was kind enough to provide us with his recipe for:

Corn and Conch Chowder with Saffron
Serves 6

1 lb tapped conch
1 turnip
2 onions
2 fresh ears of corn
2 garlic cloves
1 Yukon gold potato
2 TB flour
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 tsp saffron
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper
1/2 lb butter
3 TB olive oil

Tap the conch and place it in a pressure cooker with one turnip sliced in half and one onion sliced in half. Add 1/2 cup of water, salt, and cook for 20 minutes.
Dice the remaining onion, garlic. Take the corn off the cob, add the butter and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add all the vegetables. Once the conch is pressure cooked, dice it and add to the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, then add all the spices, the flour, white wine, and cooking liquid from the conch. Add the cream and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, outside there was a mojito contest afoot...Bay Bistro took the honors for their cocktail as well.

And here's Baby clowning around with a conch shell across the road!

Needless to say I suppose, when we left, we were quite conked out!

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