You’ve undoubtedly heard of tuna, cod, and trout — all of which are popular, commonly eaten fish all over the world. Cobia, on the other hand, is one of the more unique and interesting fishes you can eat. This predatory fish has many names. It’s also known as the “black kingfish,” the “ling,” and the “crab eater.” The cobia fish is especially well-known for its robust flavor and versatility as a cooking ingredient.
The taste of cobia is sweet but rich. You can think of it as a perfect marriage between a mahi-mahi fish and a swordfish, both of which are pretty exotic (and delicious!). When cooking with cobia, make sure to season it with plenty of herbs and spices. Include garlic, ginger, and a bit of lemon juice if you really want to bring out the fish’s natural flavors.
What Is a Cobia Fish?
If you’ve never heard of a cobia fish, you’re not the only one. Cobia fish live in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. You might also be lucky enough to catch one if you go fishing in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of the Eastern United States. Cobia fish are huge, so you can’t possibly miss them. They can get to be up to 6 feet in length, and the biggest cobia weigh in at around 110 pounds!
It’s truly a majestic creature of the sea, shredding with surprising ease through the turbulent water and catching its prey with the utmost grace and precision. You’ll be able to tell that you’ve caught a cobia if it has a long, cylindrical body, and dark brown stripes that run along the entire length of its sides. Cobia fish also have a cute pointed snout and sharp teeth — so watch your fingers if you’re going to be handling a live one.
Because of their sharp teeth, huge size, and predatory nature, cobia fish are often mistaken for sharks. However, the main reason the cobia has such threatening teeth is that it needs to be able to crunch through the hard shells of shrimps, crabs, and other crustaceans — its favorite foods. Cobia fish are magnificent and tasty, which is why they’re highly sought-after by people who enjoy fishing.
Can You Eat Cobia Fish?
You can certainly eat cobia fish! They’re perfectly edible, and are actually considered to be a delicacy by many foodies. Cobia is extremely versatile, so no matter how you decide to cook it, it will always come out tasting delicious. You can easily grill, boil, or bake cobia, and serve it with a light marinade to enhance the flavor of the fish. Like most fish, you can also sauté it in butter and serve it with roasted potatoes or grilled vegetables if you so desire.
One of the most popular ways to prepare and cook cobia involves wrapping the fish in bacon and then baking or grilling it in the bacon’s natural juices. You could argue that literally anything tastes better when you wrap it in bacon, but this is especially true for cobia fish. The bacon adds a smoky flavor to the fish, and helps keep it from drying out. Sounds pretty delectable, don’t you think?
What Does Cobia Fish Taste Like?
Like many ocean-dwelling fish, cobia has a mild, sweet flavor that’s not too overly fishy. The flavor is not overpowering, which has in part made it a very popular choice for those looking to eat a seafood dish that’s slightly exotic without worrying about the flavor overwhelming their palate. Let’s go over some of the factors that make cobia fish so darn delicious in a bit more detail below:
This unique fish, when cooked, has a delicate texture that’s not overly flaky. It melts in your mouth when you eat it, but it doesn’t fall apart when you cut into it with a knife or attempt to scoop it up with a fork. Its texture is actually quite comparable to that of chicken or pork, and its meaty consistency makes it absolutely perfect for recipes that involve baking or grilling the fish.
The taste of cobia is slightly sweet and just a little bit nutty. It can be enjoyed cooked or raw, as long as you prepare it properly (like if you’re making sushi or ceviche, for example). Cobia fish is rich, tender, and satisfying, and it pairs especially well with lemon juice and garlic. Rub it down with salt and pepper before baking it, and bask in the delicious flavor!
What Does Cobia Fish Taste Similar To?
If you’re going to try cobia fish for the first time, it might be helpful to know what it tastes similar to. Most foodies agree that cobia fish tastes quite similar to swordfish, though, if you’ve never had swordfish, that’s not the most helpful comparison. Just know that it tastes like most other mild saltwater fish. Another similar fish to cobia that you might be more familiar with is striped bass — which again, is quite sweet and mild.
How to Cook Cobia
Now that you’ve learned a little about cobia fish, you’re probably going to want to know how to properly cook it. As previously stated, this fish is super versatile. You can fry it, bake it, grill it, or even smoke it. Cobia fish is also super nutritious and high in protein, so we don’t blame you for wanting to try it out, especially if you’ve been attempting to incorporate more seafood into your diet. For your convenience, we’ll go over a few different cobia cooking methods below:
How to Bake Cobia
Baking cobia fish is easier than you might think. It’s certainly more than just throwing the fish in the oven and forgetting about it for a little while, but it’s not much more than that. The great thing about baking cobia fish is you can pre-season it with whatever you want. We suggest using salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, and rosemary if it’s your first time baking cobia fish. You can also squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top, and place the slices on top of your fish filet for a bit of extra flavor and garnish.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare your various seasonings in a small bowl. From there, you can season the cobia filet, rubbing down both sides evenly. Place the filet on a baking sheet, and brush it with a mixture of olive oil and melted butter. Arrange the lemon slices on top, and bake the cobia filet for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is golden-brown and flaky.
How to Fry Cobia
Everyone loves fried fish, so why not fry your freshly-caught cobia for dinner tonight? The process is quite simple. All you’ll need to do is combine flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika in a bowl. In another dish, beat together 1 egg and about half a cup of milk. Coat your cobia filet in the flour mixture, and then dip it into the egg mixture (as you would with any fried fish).
After that, dip each filet into the flour mixture one more time and place it into a skillet of hot vegetable oil. Keep in mind that your fish filets only have to fry for about 2-3 minutes on each side, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on them. After they’re golden-brown and nicely fried, you can take the filets out of the hot oil and let them drain on a plate with a paper towel over it. Fried cobia tastes even better with tartar sauce or coleslaw on the side. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!
How to Grill Cobia
If you’re trying to be health-conscious, grilling cobia fish is much healthier than frying it. It’s also just as delicious and flavorful! Preheat your grill (or skillet, if you’re doing it on a stovetop) to a medium-high heat, and season your cobia filet with salt and pepper. We also recommend brushing both sides with olive oil and garlic. Next, you’ll want to carefully place the filet on the grill, skin side down. Like with the frying method, you should keep an eye on your filet, as it will only need to cook for about 3-5 minutes on either side.
Once it’s done cooking, remove the cobia from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top of it, and serve it up with rice, grilled veggies, or a simple soup or salad. Your dinner guests will definitely thank you (and they’ll feel healthy and energized after eating it too!)
If you’re interested in trying a more exotic (but not too overpowering) fish, now’s your chance! Cobia fish is both delicious and nutritious, so it’s perfect for those just getting into seafood. Its mildly sweet taste and tender texture will have your dinner guests licking their lips and reaching across the table for seconds. Whether you decide to bake it, grill it, or fry it with some chips on the side, cobia fish is sure to be a hit!