The healthiest native Bahamian dish to eat – in my opinion – is fresh conch salad – and you can get it right here in Governors Harbour. J J Hepburn – a Governors Harbour man born and bred – has a stand on the harbour ramp outside our office on weekdays and a stand at Fish Fry on a Friday night.
I spoke with him this week and he gave me the skinny on all that is good about conch salad. Many of you will already know that conch salad is generally made up of finely chopped raw conch, onion, tomato, celery, cucumber, key lime juice as well as lemon and lime juice, hot pepper, Eleuthera salt and orange juice. Of course different places have their own recipe – many people put in raw green pepper – which I am not a fan of personally – so J J’s recipe suits me well ! Sometimes he makes a tropical version with fresh mango, pineapple, apple which is also popular….
J J gets his conch from the Exuma Cays – he usually collects it every 2 weeks – and then tethers it in the sea so that it doesn’t walk away …. It comes from the Exuma Cays because you cannot collect it from the conch breeding grounds which surround Eleuthera.
J J told me about two different types of conch – Queen conch, which is the one I have heard of, which is found mainly in the ocean where there is a feathery bottom – and also Duke conch which is found in the channels. He also told me that the Queen conch shells are used for making local jewelry while the Duke conch shells are the ones used mostly for garden decoration.
Now a little bit about the man himself ! J J – real name Audley Hepburn – got his nickname from his days as a pitcher for the Bahamas National Softball team – he played for them for an amazing 35 years. Although he worked for Batelco for 25 years and General Electric for 10 years – he has had a stand making conch salad in Governors Harbour since 1986. He started with a stand at Anchor Bay long before Fish Fry was there and since he retired he has had the stand in Governors Harbour on the ramp. It is good to see people eating such a healthy dish, nothing processed or fried – just good natural ingredients.
August 1st saw the start of lobster season and it is a delight to see the fishermen’s tables stacked with plenty of lobster tails. Personally I love lobster tails and can’t wait to cook my favorite lemon lobster spaghetti this weekend.
And of course so many of my blogs are not complete without the obligatory pictures of Rudge and Rufus – so here they are ……