Try this simple Lambí Guisado (Stewed Conch) recipe to make this tasty dish that will keep you coming for more.
There's something about this Lambí Guisado (Stewed Conch) you need to know.
Every culture's cuisine has dishes that are supposed to have aphrodisiac properties. These dishes range from the harmless to the head-scratchingly bizarre. Luckily the dishes in our cuisine alleged to help one's amorous skills are also a pleasure to eat.
This is one of those dishes.
Is lambí an aphrodisiac?
While conch contains many beneficial nutrients, and a healthy body is definitely more capable of engaging in "romantic activities", conch most likely won this reputation from the principles of sympathetic magic, as the pinkish shell resembles a certain part of the female anatomy and the meat inside looks like the matching male body part.
Ok. I think I am done with the euphemisms.
Lambí (Lobatus giga) is a large marine mollusk  (a sea snail) native to the Caribbean. It is known as conch in English, and as queen conch in some parts of the Caribbean.
How to clean it
I have tried many a variation of this dish. The one that I find changes it the most is the way it is cleaned and sliced. I am a very aggressive cleaner myself and am of the school that any part that isn't the central, soft, white meat has to go. This lends itself well to cutting the lambí into thin slices, and into cubes.
Cleaning aggressively means that a lot will go into the garbage once cleaned. For the less strict cleaners, mincing means that the harder, chewier parts of the conch meat can be served. Neither of these is necessarily better, it's just a matter of taste.
Regardless of where you fall on the scale, to clean lambí, cut and discard the tiny appendages, as well as the very tough tip and any part that you may find unseemly. If you are going to serve it sliced, use a sharp knife (and caution!) to remove the thin "skin" surrounding it, you will be able to feel how it is a bit tougher than the meat inside.
If you are going to slice it, it's best to do it as thinly as possible, as conch is a rather rubbery "meat", and it would otherwise require longer cooking times.
How to cook it
There are also two schools of thought when it comes to lambí: one that prefers to boil it beyond recognition, until the fibers break down and it turns into a tender, but mushier texture.
I adhere to the "never overcook seafood" school of thought, as --like most seafood-- lambí will actually become tougher when overcooked  and lose some of its flavor and texture.
You do you...
As an empanada filling
Minced lambí is a very popular --albeit more refined and expensive-- filling for empanadas. You'll need to let all the liquid reduce at the end if you want to use it for this purpose.
I highly recommend you give it a try.
Remember that in the Dominican Republic selling and fishing lambí is banned from July 1st to October 31st every year  to protect the species from overfishing and allow it to reproduce freely.
About this recipe
My mom was of the minced lambí school of thought, but I prefer it cut into thin slices. Other than that, I've just followed her recipe. As I prefer to serve it with some sauce, my recipe reflects that.
If your family makes this in a different way, I'd love to hear it!
Lambí Guisado Recipe (Stewed Conch)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 small red onion chopped into small cubes
- ½ teaspoon of mashed garlic
- 1 teaspoon of salt, (or more, to taste)
- 2 bell peppers cut into cubes
- 1 lb of clean raw conch, [0.45 kg] sliced very thinly, or minced
- 1 cup of tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon of hot sauce of your preference, , (or more, to taste)
- Some parsley, as garnish (optional)
- 2 limes cut into wedges
- Clean: Clean and slice/mince the conch meat according to your preference.If slicing, do it against the fibers, meaning slicing as you would a sausage.
- Sautee: In a deep pot, heat the oil over low heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent. Season with a teaspoon of salt, stir in bell peppers and cook covered for a minute. Stir in the conch and mix to combine.
- Simmer: Pour in the tomato sauce and ¼ cup of water and mix well. Simmer over medium-low heat until it breaks the boil (about 5 minutes).Season with salt and hot sauce to taste.