Known by many names throughout the world, including black kingfish, black salmon and crab eaters, cobia is one of nature's most beautiful fish.
Growing upward to 6 feet in length and well over 100 pounds, it is also one of the most adaptable. Cobia can be found in waters ranging from the deep blue of the South China Sea to the emerald green shallows of the Caribbean.
While it has long been considered an excellent source of food in the countries of the Asiatic Pacific Rim, it has only recently begun to appear on more menus in the United States. One reason why it hasn't been used by many chefs here is that its solitary nature and its expanse over vast areas of the world's oceans have led to difficulties in catching sufficient quantities to make it commercially viable.
Those who have been fortunate enough to try it have been delighted with what they discover. Cobia has a slightly denser meat -- more along the lines of a swordfish -- with a buttery, full flavor that lends itself to a variety of preparations and sauces.
Luckily for all of us, with the development and improvement of open ocean aquaculture technology, this delicious fish is now becoming more readily available in a cost-effective
and, more importantly, sustainable way. The heartiness of the fish, and the methods of using spacious open-ocean pens with swift, pristine water currents, combined with providing all-natural diets free from pesticides, colorants, antibiotics, hormones and contaminants, produce a sashimi-quality seafood to service the needs of tomorrow.
Large-scale operations, some based right here in Florida, are now bringing this fish to restaurants and food markets.
At the BeachHouse, it has proved so popular that it is starting to give our world-famous grouper sandwich a run for its money.
We are very proud to be serving this quality product. It is an ideal showcase for our ongoing commitment to source, purchase and serve the finest, freshest, healthful, local and sustainable foods. We encourage everyone to come to the BeachHouse, see and enjoy our new dining room and try the cobia. You will be glad you did.
Grilled Cobia with a Ponzu Salsa
4 (6-ounce) cobia filets
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and medium diced
1 red bell pepper, peeled and medium diced
1 cup Heirloom or ripe tomato, diced
2 tablespoons cilantro, rough chopped
1 cup Ponzu sauce (can be found in the Asian isle of most grocery stores)
Dice cucumber, tomatoes and red bell pepper the same size. Add cilantro and ponzu and fold together. Drain off liquid before serving.
Season cobia filets with salt and pepper. Grill on a medium-hot grill or in pan until just barely cooked (about 4 minutes per side).
Place drained salsa on plate followed by cobia and your favorite side dish.
-- Created by Chef Will Manson
Chef Will Manson, chef and kitchen manager at the BeachHouse Restaurant in Bradenton Beach, can be reached at 941-779-2222.