We have all heard of and eaten the well-known and popular Florida Gulf fish such as our Groupers, Snappers and
Mahi-Mahi. Well there are a few other very sustainable and good eating fish out there in the Gulf that you may have never heard of or at least have never had on your dinner plate. Parrotfish, African Pompano, Barracuda, Blacktip Shark, Wahoo, Tripletail and Hogfish are all fish that will rotate through your Siesta Key fish market display cases during the upcoming spring and summer months. They are all different, sustainable, local and delicious. I would suggest you try them all at some point in the following months while they are available.
But the month of May brings us one standout in particular. When it comes to fish, Cobia is in a class of its own. Literally. There are scores of fish in the Snapper and Grouper families but this fish family contains only one member: Cobia. Cobia is also known as the Lemon Fish or crab eater. This underrated fish makes for excellent table fare.
Cobia feeds from both deep water and shallow waters and 75% of their diet consists of swimming crabs. The meat is dense and firm yet delicate with a white flake. Its flavor has a hint of lemon with also a hint of crab. It’s an excellent fish for the outdoor grill and is often served as sushi. One interesting fact is that Cobia are travelers. Research from a Mississippi laboratory indicates that most Cobia migrate in the spring from South Florida waters where they have spent the winter. Movement is northward along the Florida Coast then they head west towards Louisiana and reverse migration takes place in the fall. Recently a tagged Cobia traveled more than 1,200 miles. It was tagged off of Pensacola Beach and recaptured at Murrells Inlet, South Carolina only 238 days later. I call that a snowbird so get some Cobia while you still can.
My favorite Cobia Recipe: Appetizer and/or Cobia Burritos and Tacos.
1. Slice a few thin cuts of your Cobia and eat it raw as an appetizer sashimi style. Dipping it in soy sauce and/or wasabi is acceptable.
2. Drink a beer.
3. Brush the Cobia with olive oil, squeeze fresh lemon juice on it, salt and pepper to taste then broil or grill it for 12 to 15 minutes. Don’t overcook it.
4. While the fish is cooking prepare your burrito filings such as lettuce, minced onions, chopped tomatoes, olives, sliced avocados and drink a beer.
5. Pack the hot fish and ingredients into a warm burrito or taco wrap, slather with salsa, top with fresh, rough chopped cilantro and serve.
6. Drinking another beer is optional.
Live well…..Eat fish.
Big Water Fish Market
6641 Midnight Pass Road, in the Crescent Plaza
Siesta Key, FL 34242