Roasted Cobia with Pickled Squash, Rock Crab, and Ham Broth

Photo by Bryan Regan

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4–6 servings

    Ham Broth
  • 3 cups country ham, cubed
  • 1 cup sweet onion, diced
  • ½ cup carrot, peeled and diced
  • ½ cup celery, diced
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon toasted black peppercorns
  • 1½ quarts water or stock
  • 2–4 butter cubes, for reheating
  • Pickled Squash
  • 2 kabocha squash (or any squash), peeled, quartered, and seeded
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 whole clove
  • 10 toasted black peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Rock Crab
  • 3 cups Pickled Squash noodles, removed from pickling liquid with pickling liquid reserved (recipe above)
  • 2 tablespoons Ham Broth (recipe above)
  • 1 tablespoon squash pickling liquid
  • 2 cups rock crab meat, cleaned of shells (or blue crab)
  • 2 teaspoons cold butter, cubed
  • 2 cups heirloom tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and diced
  • ½ cup chives, thinly sliced
  • Cobia
  • ½ cup kosher salt
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • 10 toasted black peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 pounds cobia, cleaned

“Remember that the crab should be prepared right before you plan to serve; you are only trying to heat the crab through, not cook it.”- Chef Scott Crawford

Ham Broth

  1. Combine all ingredients in pot. Bring to boil, skimming surface for any impurities. Reduce to low heat and lightly simmer.
  2. Once stock has reduced by half, pour through fine-mesh strainer and season to taste. Set aside until ready to serve.

Pickled Squash

  1. Slice squash on mandolin into 1/8-inch thick planks. Slice planks into “noodles” and toss with salt. Let rest for 30 minutes, then rinse, drain, and reserve.
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients in pot and bring this pickling liquid to boil.
  3. Once boiling, strain pickling liquid into bowl with squash noodles and lightly cover with parchment. Cool.

Rock Crab

  1. Combine Pickled Squash noodles, broth, and pickling liquid in sauté pan over very low heat.
  2. Once warm, add crab and gently stir, trying to keep crab in larger pieces.
  3. Once hot, stir in the cold butter, tomato, and chives until emulsified.


  1. Combine all seasonings in bowl. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Rub cobia evenly with cure on all sides. Let sit for 1 hour. Note: timing is based on 1-inch-thick fish fillet; make it more or less depending on thickness of fish.
  3. Rinse fish and pat dry. Let air dry in refrigerator for at least 1 hour, uncovered.


  1. To serve, heat grill to medium-high. Add 1 cup apple wood chips, wrapped in foil, directly onto coals or grill top (to impart an amazing smoky flavor).
  2. Heat up Ham Broth, stirring in a few butter cubes for richer flavor.
  3. Season cobia with salt and pepper and cook with grill top down, rotating to ensure even cooking, just until cooked through. Remove from direct heat,but rest in warm spot.
  4. As fish rests, add Rock Crab to bottom of a serving bowl, place fish on top, and pour broth over fish. Garnish with fresh herbs such as fennel fronds, dill, or basil, and smoked sea salt. Serve family-style.

  • from Chef Scott Crawford of Standard Foods in Raleigh, NC

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