Whether you’ve just bought a whole fish from the supermarket or you’ve got one after fishing, filleting it is a simple process which takes little of your time. It uses a similar technique regardless of the type of your catch but it’s worth spending some quality time at the cleaning stage so you’ll be sure that it will have no bones at the eating stage. If you’re looking forward to trying this process for the very first time and you’re nervous, we have good news for you as here is everything you need to know about how to fillet a fish. Also, make sure you have a good fillet knife.
1. Prepare it for filleting
With the right tools ready for filleting, rinse it using cold water, leave it to dry and then place it horizontally on a chopping board in a way that its bottom faces you.
2. Cut the head
Place the cutting tool behind the gills and cut the head diagonally through the bone and do the same on the other side and dispose off the head.
3. Insert the cutting tool behind the gill cover
Carefully hold it by its tail and make the cut toward the head. The blade of your knife should point away from you to protect yourself from unnecessary injuries and the cut should be made until you hit the backbone.
4. Push your cutting tool through the vent of the fish
When you hold the underside of the fish, you’ll notice a small hole which is known as the vent. Push the knife through it and cut along the bones to the tails where the fillet ends.
5. Pull back the fillet
Pull it away from the ribcage and observe if the cut has been successful. If you realize that some parts are still attached, loosen them up and separate the fillet from the body and place it on a plate.
6. Flip it over and make the cut
So far so good, you have already made a successful cut on one side of your aquatic vertebrate and therefore, you can go ahead and cut the other side. Once you flip it over, the cut is made using the similar method; insert your cutting tool and make a cut until you hit the backbone and then adjust it to be in line with the ribcage and push it through the fish’s body along the ribcage to separate the fish’s meat from the ribs. The cut should continue along the bones to cut it off at the tail, lift it and place it on a plate.
7. Skin the fish
It goes without saying that people are different and so are their preferences. Whereas some people opt to eat the skin, others want it removed. If you are in the category of taking the skin off, hold it tightly onto the skin and place your cutting tool between the skin and the flesh and cut it through in the direction where the head was. If you’re doing it for the first time, don’t worry if it’s not perfect as you can make it better the next time.
If you’re planning to fillet a larger fish, don’t panic as you can do it successfully as follows; Make a cut behind the gills. Make a clean cut through the top of the fish. Separate the fish’s flesh from the bone with the tip of your cutting tool so that it can open like a book. Cut it along the spine.
Fish is one of the healthy diets you can have as it’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein, rich in phosphorus and calcium, and an excellent source of minerals such as zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium. Many people are afraid of buying it whole because they don’t have the slightest idea on how to fillet a fish. However, with the above step by step guide on filleting, you can now walk in the supermarket and purchase it whole and when you get home, filet it like a pro. As a rule of thumb, getting some of the meat is a sure way of getting all of it the next time you’ll be filleting. And always keep in mind that if you have to skin the fish, there’s no need to scale it first but if you want to use the skin, remember to scale it.