|Cobia with a Caper & Saffron Reduction|
When I make fish, I usually start by saying that I am not a fish fan. I take all of that back. I was looking over the fish at the market recently and the butcher suggested cobia. He told me that it was firm enough to hold up to any cooking method. If I could do it to chicken, I could do it to cobia. I trust my butcher, so I bought some.
I went home and looked cobia up. Sometimes called black salmon or black king fish, cobia is very nutritious and highly sustainable. It is being farmed in a new kind of open ocean aquaculture. Cobia is new to American consumers, but I predict it will be wildly popular.
If you cannot find cobia, you can substitute salmon or tuna. However, cobia is much milder and firmer than either of these. I served it over orzo pilaf with a side of wilted spinach and a side salad. From the beginning to end, the whole meal took 25 minutes to prepare.
Time: Cook time 15 minutes; active time: 10 Fish in about: 20 minutes
Hardware: measuring spoons and cups, a knife, paper towels, a plate, a zester, a large, heavy bottomed skillet (I prefer cast iron), a metal spatula (I used a fish spatula), a wooden spoon, a slotted spoon, and a a gravy boat
- 1 pound of 1 ¼ inch thick cobia
- Enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the skillet
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons capers with the juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- Large pinch of saffron
- Dice the garlic as small as possible. Zest the lemon. Measure everything and set aside.
- Cut the fish into serving sizes. Rinse in clean water and pat dry. Generously salt both sides of the fish. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in the skillet on high. When the pan is very hot, place the fish pieces in the skillet without crowding them. The idea is to sear the outside. If you crowd them, they will not sear, but will steam instead. If needed, cook in batches.
- Allow the fish to cook for 4 minutes. Turn carefully with the spatula and cook for 4 minutes on the other side or until the fish is opaque and flakes easily. Be careful to not overcook Set aside. You can keep the fish warm warm in the oven on the lowest setting.
- Wipe out the skillet. Turn down to medium high. Add the butter and garlic and stir until the butter melts. Add the broth and capers. Allow the sauce to boil for about 5 minutes or until it begins to reduce. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt. Add the saffron and lemon zest to the hot reduction, right before serving.
- To plate, place a starch (pasta, rice or mashed potatoes) on the plate. Top with a piece of fish. Use the slotted spoon to scoop out some capers, saffron and zest. Top each piece of fish with the caper mixture. Splash a little of the reduction on the cobia. Pour the rest of the reduction into the gravy boat and offer it to your guests.