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Heaven's Gate


Norman Van Aken © 2018 All rights reserved. Adapted from “My Key West Kitchen”

These were some of the first flavor of Key West we came to know and love.

Yield: 3 dozen approx.

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ Cup whole milk

1 ¼ Cups AP flour, sifted

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 Tablespoon Roasted Garlic, mashed or ½ Tablespoon raw garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons sweet onion, diced small

1 Tablespoon jalapeño, seed and stem removed, diced small

2 Tablespoons red bell pepper, stem and seeded and diced small

¼ cups beer

4 squirts Tabasco sauce, or to taste

1 pound Turks & Caicos cleaned conch meat, freshly ground

Canola or peanut oil for deep-frying

Lemon and/or lime wedges, for garnish

Beat the egg in a medium bowl and add the milk.

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together in another bowl.

Add the egg mix to the dry mix.

Now stir in the vegetables, beer and Tabasco. Fold in the conch and hold in the refrigerator, covered for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in the fryer to 350° F.

Using two spoons or a small ice cream type scoop add a small ball of fritter batter carefully into the hot oil. As fritters are cooking, turn them over from time to time (about 5 minutes, color will vary with the quality of oil) and then remove to paper toweling to drain. Season with kosher salt, Tabasco and lemon and/or lime to taste and serve.

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Norman Van Aken has been described as legendary, visionary and a trailblazer. He is known as “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He is also known internationally for introducing the concept of “Fusion” to the culinary world.