cobia plate

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Cobia is a wonderfully versatile fish that is excellent just about any way you choose to prepare it.

Last week while Alexandra and I were fishing at a local pier, we saw three stingrays caught. Stingrays always make me think of cobia, because once upon a time Capt. Cayle told me that cobia like to follow the rays, hoping to snag a stingray pup for a meal.

Is it true? I can’t guarantee it, but I can say this for sure: I wouldn’t the cobia being my next meal. Cobia is an awesome fish to cook. It has a wonderful flavor on its own, but it also works well with lots of different seasonings too. My go-to method for cooking cobia is to douse it well with Everglades Seasoning and hard-sear each side in a good pan.

Remember I’m always reminding you about good quality pans and how important they are. I always check out the kitchen section of any thrift store that we go into looking for good pans. A few months ago, Alex and I went into a thrift store in Englewood. I made my usual pass through the pot and pans area … and there they were.

I stopped in my tracks and looked around for Alex and waved her over. “Could you please stand right here and watch these pans while I go get a cart?” I ran to get a cart, raced back and loaded up the pans I found: Seven All-Clad pans, which looked like they hadn’t ever been used, for $2 each. That was a huge score. The 12-inch sauté pan alone is $129 on Amazon.

I already had several All-Clad pans in my kitchen but I will always take more — especially at those prices. What makes these pans worth what they charge is how well they conduct heat. The pan heats evenly throughout the whole cooking surface, even if the pan is larger than the burner.


All-Clad pans are constructed in several layers, with a little air between them. The air helps conduct the heat to the outer edges and side of the pan. So if you see them for a fair price, buy them.

If you prefer to cook al fresco, cobia is a good fish to put on the grill. The meat is dense and it will hold up nicely and not flake apart, as long as you don’t move it around and just let it sit and cook.

You can check if it’s ready to turn by gently nudging the edge to see if it has released yet. If it moves, it’s ready to be turned. If it doesn’t, just let it sit and try again in one minute. It a good idea to time how long this takes so you know about how long to cook the other side.

The same thing goes for your pans as well. Don’t push your food around your pan; just let it sit. When it’s ready, the food will release itself. This is one of the many “secrets” that chefs use in their kitchens every day — and one that you can use at home to make your cooking better and less frustrating. Bon appétit!

Chef Tim Spain is a Florida native and has years of experience cooking professionally, both in restaurants and in private settings. He offers private catering and personal culinary classes. For more info, visit ChefTimSpain.com or call 406-580-1994.

Chef Tim Spain is a Florida native and has years of experience cooking professionally, both in restaurants and in private settings. He offers private catering and personal culinary classes. For more info, visit ChefTimSpain.com or call 406-580-1994.

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