As Dossier Style adds Food to our coverage, we introduce a ray of Bahamian sunshine.
Although 2009 has an optimistic shine, the first month of the year often leaves me a bit cold. On New York winter mornings, I repeatedly dream of diving through soft saltwater, bathed in reflections of sunlight.
Fortunately, I got to escape for a few days in December to Grand Bahama Island where two Florida fishermen told me a Conch diver named Magic made the best Conch Salad on the island. So in the mid-afternoon, I rode a bicycle away from the resort and along the island’s sun-scorched silent paths in search of him.
As it turns out, Magic dives for the Conch and his cousin Rhonda handles the preparation. She shared her simple recipe with me, and I’m passing an adaptation of it along to you, below this slideshow, my souvenir from a day diving with Magic.
Chilly from diving, Magic and I got a fresh, warm loaf of coconut bread bread on the dock to sop up the citrus and brine, sunshine and salt from the bottom of the bowl.
The Dossier Food File’s Seafood Salad doesn’t use Conch, since it is scarce outside the Bahamas, where exporting is limited to protect the population. Instead we call for cubed fish like Mahi Mahi or Pacific Cod — and include a tip for checking on whether a species is over-fished. Just let the citric acid of the lime juice (Rhonda likes mixing a bit of lemon as well) cook the fish in the frig, ceviche style.
If you’re fretful about that, you could fake it like Mark Bittman does here with cooked scallops, shrimp and squid instead of raw fish. But really, what would Rhonda do?
This coconut bread recipe from epicurious doesn’t achieve the same squish of the warm loaves on the dock, but the extra step of toasting the coconut will fill your apartment with tropical warmth for the time being.