Recipe courtesy of James Petrakis

Cobia with New Smyrna Clam Chowder

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 361 hr 40 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Inactive: 360 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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1/2 cup coarse salt

1 teaspoon ground fennel seed

1 teaspoon ground lavender

1/2 teaspoon meat cure, such as InstaCure number 1

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 pound pork back fat

Steamed Clams:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

5 cloves garlic, smashed

2 shallots, sliced

5 pounds live clams

1/4 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes

3 fresh bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh thyme

Coarse salt

1 bottle dry white wine


4 cups fish fumet (fish stock)

4 corn cobs, kernels scraped, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-roasted 

4 corn cobs, kernels scraped, seasoned with salt and pepper and pan-roasted

1 cup shell beans, such as cranberry, shucked and blanched

1/2 cup potatoes, medium dice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Red chile flakes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Six 6-ounce portions cobia fish

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 fresh bay leaves

3 whole garlic cloves, smashed


  1. For the lardo: Mix together the salt, fennel seed, lavender, meat cure, white pepper and nutmeg. Rub the mixture on all sides of the pork fat and place in a plastic, stainless steel or glass container. Cover with plastic wrap, and then foil, and put a heavy plate or lid on top to force out moisture. Refrigerate for 5 days to cure.
  2. Remove the plastic wrap and foil, rinse, and pat dry. Let air dry in a bowl for 10 days on a rack in the refrigerator.
  3. For the steamed clams: Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and saute until translucent. Add the clams, chile flakes, bay leaves, thyme, some salt and the wine. Cover and steam until the clams open. Cool the cooked clams in the refrigerator; reserve the cooking liquid. Shell the clams and discard the shells.
  4. For the chowder: Combine the fish fumet, reserved clam cooking liquid and corn cobs in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer for 30 minutes to create the chowder broth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
  5. Ladle 4 cups of the broth into a saucepan with the shell beans, roasted corn kernels, potatoes, butter and some salt, black pepper and chile flakes. Cook until reduced and the broth slightly thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and 1 cup of the shelled, cooked clams.
  6. For the cobia: Sprinkle the cobia with salt and black pepper. Heat the canola oil in a pan until hot, and then sear the fish, top-side down. When the fish is cooked about halfway through, add the butter, thyme, bay leaves and garlic to the pan. As the butter melts, baste the fish using a large spoon until cooked through.
  7. For assembly: Slice the lardo paper-thin with a sharp knife and lay the slices over the seared, hot cobia. The lardo will "melt" over the hot fish. Spoon the clam chowder into the bottom of 6 deep single-serving bowls and top with seared fish.

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