Corvina is a large, pink-fleshed fish mainly found in the waters of the Pacific Ocean along Central and South America's southeastern side. Corvina gets used in all sorts of applications in many cultures in and around those areas. When cooked, that rose-colored meat turns white, whether it's fried, sliced raw and cured, baked whole with lemon, or filleted for the grill. No matter how corvina is prepared, it's simple to work with, making it a favored fish even when consumers don't realize they're eating it.
What Is Corvina?
Around 270 species of boney, saltwater fish fall into the Scaienidae family, also known as corvina. These are either in the drum fish or croaker fish variety, the former known for its drumming sound and the later recognized by a distinct croaking. Both types get fished all year round using a bottom trawl, gillnet, or handline.
Most corvina are found in warm temperate and tropical waters such as those along the southeastern side of the Central and South America coasts. Because there are so many types of corvina, the fish doesn't always look the same. Sometimes the fish is silvery-blue with light speckling and yellowish fins, or it can be bronze-hued with dark spots and golden fins. The size also differs, from small, one-meal fish to large drums weighing 25 pounds. Specific types of corvina have many names, and consumers can look for the fish under the monikers speckled sea trout, white sea bass, kingfish, yellowfin corvina, orangemouth corvina, and many other titles.
How To Cook Corvina
This hearty white-fleshed fish can be cooked in many ways, from broiling to grilling to pan-frying. It's thick, easy to work with, and the meat turns from a light pink color to white as it heats through, a trick that helps cooks easily know when it's cooked. Some corvina are small and work best cooked whole, while others can weigh 20 pounds and get cut up into fish steaks often served at restaurants.
Because corvina is a saltwater fish, it can also be served raw (when properly treated and stored) or as ceviche, which is how it's often prepared in Peru. Corvina can also be seared and served warm or fully cooked until all the flesh turns a creamy white. When fully cooked, the meat pulls off in substantial flakes which can be eaten plain, dipped in a sauce, or wrapped up to make tacos.
What Does Corvina Taste Like?
In terms of fish, corvina is one of the more mild varieties. It has a slightly sweet, mellow flavor that can be a bit buttery. The flesh is oily and tender which helps give corvina a rich, luxurious mouthfeel.
Corvina vs. Red Snapper
Both corvina and red snapper have sweet, mild meat that is pink when raw. Otherwise, these two fish don't have much in common. For starters, red snapper is a leaner fish and doesn't have the same oily, buttery texture as corvina. It's flesh pales when cooked like corvina, but there's a slight rosy hue that remains while corvina turns a creamy white.
Red snapper also is a specific type of fish, where corvina has many varieties and names. That makes red snapper a higher-end, more expensive fish that's harder to come by, especially fresh. Both are hefty and can weigh up to 25 pounds, but can also be caught younger and smaller. In the latter case, red snapper and corvina often get served whole.
It's easy to use corvina as the fish of choice in any recipe requiring a meaty white fish. Eat it cured with citrus, grilled, baked, or sauteed.
Where to Buy Corvina
The first step in buying corvina is knowing what names to look for it under. Often it's called by the fancier moniker, white sea bass or speckled sea trout. Both names describe a type of corvina, but there are many more. It's best to visit a fishmonger to get not only the freshest samples but to chat about what exactly is being sold. While corvina can be found in many groceries, it's not as common as tuna, cod, salmon, and halibut. If found in a supermarket, corvina will is often found in the frozen seafood section.
Keep any fresh fish in the fridge for a few days or frozen fish in the freezer until ready to thaw and use. Once defrosted, the fish needs to be cooked within 24 hours to prevent spoilage. All corvina should be wrapped thoroughly and in an airtight container, whether in the fridge or icebox. After the fish gets cooked, it can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for around three days.
Nutrition and Benefits
All fish has good-for-you omega-3 fatty acids and corvina is no exception. Corvina also has plenty of protein, vitamin-A, calcium, and iron.
One confusing thing about corvina comes in the vast number of names the fish gets called, all depending on the type. There are 270 different corvinas such as the Atlantic croaker, weakfish, black drum, red drum, spotted sea trout, speckled sea trout, yellowfin corvina, white sea bass, kingfish, orangemouth corvina, golden corvina, shortfin corvina and many, many more. Even though some of the names claim the fish is a bass or trout, corvina drums and croakers are unrelated to either.