In the Bahamas, Conch are like chicken. The locals eat them in such quantities that their shells line the shores in massive mountains. What look like large jetties from a distance are actually just piles of conch shells! One local who calls himself "Down Pat" showed us how to clean a conch shell and make a meal out of the mighty mollusk.
A few islands later, we were walking along the beach at low tide and noticed a significant number of conches in the water. Conch are predators who prey on smaller and slower snails. They chase them down and eat them out of their shell. If you see many snails around, you can bet that conch will be close by. They also tend to collect in areas where the sea weed is less dense, as their shells won't get fouled on the blades of grass.
With this knowledge in mind, we kept an eye out for these tasty treats and found the mother load! We collected around 20 conch shells, and then kept only 4 for our dinner. In the mix was a feisty critter that was scrambling to get away and would swipe at us with his nail shaped operculum. We decided to let him go because his feistiness would be good for the species as these critters are just way too easy to pick!
Then we threw back the smaller ones that wouldn't provide much of a meal. You can call us soft, but we felt bad about killing the conch to make dinner. Our third crew member is not so soft and bartered with us to let him prepare dinner with only four shells. He wanted to eat the smaller ones as he felt the meat would be more tender, but we would need to use more conch for the meal. Maddie and I viewed it as more lives lost, so we decided to go for the larger ones.
The prettiest shells got to live, and the ones that were actively trying to escape to tossed back into the water. Our third crew member did the deed and prepared a delicious conch pasta dish. It's true what they say, if people had to slaughter their own animals, there would be more vegetarians in the world.
The conch honestly tastes just like scallops, and when sautéed in butter and olive oil, tastes amazing!