This month’s featured dish is Lambi, a spicy conch stew that was once considered the national dish of Haiti. It is made with a pepper and herb blend known as epis, which is a common addition to many Haitian dishes. On the side is pikliz, a spicy, cabbage-based vegetable blend fermented in vinegar. Overfishing has threatened conch fisheries and made it a less suitable choice for consumption, so I tried a few vegetarian alternatives. I made a batch with plant-based faux scallops in place of the conch and one with button mushroom tops in place on the conch. Both were delicious options with sustainable products.
2 lb. conch meat-cleaned and pounded tender with a meat mallet (Substitute plant-based faux scallops or button mushroom tops)
1 c chopped onion
2 c chopped ripe tomato
1 each red, yellow, and orange pepper sliced
2 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper sliced (very hot – adjust to your tastes)
4 large cloves garlic, minced
½ cup green onions, finely chopped
1/4 tomato paste
1 c epis
¼ c Pikliz juice or vinegar
1 tbsp thyme leaves
1 tbsp parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Clean, pound and chop the conch meat into bite size pieces and soak in white vinegar for two hours.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes, until the onion is translucent.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the conch and the remaining ingredients. Simmer, stirring often, for about 45 minutes or until the conch is tender.
Serve hot with rice.
3 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 c sliced onion
1 c grated carrot
1 c sliced green, red, or yellow bell pepper
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 c sliced habanero pepper
1.5 Tb chopped garlic
2 tsp kosher salt
10 black peppercorns
5 whole cloves
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 ½ cups white vinegar
2 Tb lime juice
Put all ingredients in a jar. Add enough additional vinegar to cover the vegetables. Refrigerate for one week before using.
Recipes and photo credit: Georgia Reader