Once considered a regional dish of Florida and tropical outposts in the Caribbean, conch is appearing on a bevy of fine-dining menus across the country. A staple of Caribbean cuisine for hundreds or perhaps thousands of years, the marine snail—or gastropod mollusk—feeds on algae and offers high-protein, low-fat meat. Conch was at one point so popular in Key West that locals call themselves ‘conchs’ and refer to Florida’s southernmost Key as the ‘Conch Republic.’ In recent decades, ...

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