Photograph by Gentl and Hyers Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Beer-Battered Conch Fry-Up

Starters from Issue 3 – Spring / Summer 2013 – Rough Cut

Federal agent Johnny Utah goes undercover as a beach bum (not really a stretch for our fair Keanu Reeves) to bust a gang of surfers who moonlight as bank robbers. Led by adrenaline-seeker Bodhi (the bodacious Patrick Swayze) the ex-presidents hold up banks to finance their wave-following ways. Our, ahem, Presidente beer-battered fry-up of conch, Fresno pepper rings, and lemon and avocado wedges feels like the ultimate SoCal surf break feast.

serves 16 2-bite fritters

  • about 8 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup finely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle lager-style beer (we used Presidente)
  • 1 (6 oz) can conch (scungilli), drained and coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions, chopped

Fried miscellany recommendations
  • Fresno pepper rings
  • thin slices of lemon
  • avocado wedges

  • lime and lemon wedges or favorite hot sauce

  • 1

    Heat about 2 inches of oil in a medium saucepan to 375°F using a deep fat thermometer; it will take about 15-18 minutes over medium heat.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 250°F.

  • 3

    Whisk together flour, tortilla chips, baking powder, salt, and cayenne. Then whisk in egg and beer. Divide batter into two portions stirring conch and scallions into one portion.

  • 4

    Fry rounded small spoonfuls of conch batter until golden, turning over once or twice, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels then transfer to a baking sheet and keep warm in oven. Fry remaining fritters in batches, returning oil to 375°F between batches.

  • 5

    Along with fritters, fry miscellany of choice dipped lightly in the batter without conch. Be careful with lemon slices or vegetables with a lot of moisture as they can spatter.

  • 6

    Sprinkle with salt and serve with lime, lemon or favorite hot sauce.