How To: Fillet a Fish
If you can’t start with pre-filleted fish parts and will be using a whole fish, remember that preparing a fish for cooking can be a challenging task, even with the sharpest of knives. Attempting to fillet fish with a dull knife can be very dangerous.
- First, take your Kyocera Ceramic knife and cut behind the head while angling the knife toward the front of the fish. There is a lot of good flesh on the top side where the fillet extends under the bony plate of the skull, so angling the knife will ensure you don’t waste it. Cut down to the bon e and follow the line through to just behind the fins on the gut cavity.
- Turn the fish and run the knife just clear of the fins with a slight downward angle. When you feel the knife is down to the bone reduce the angle and follow the bone until you come up against the backbone.
- Peel the filet back and run the knife over the backbone severing the small lateral fish bones in the process. Stop at this point.
- Turn the fish over and repeat the first cut you made behind the fish head on the other side. Repeat the second cut near the dorsal fin with the knife angled slightly down.
When filleting or skinning a fish, keep the skinning knife clean and wet. This lubricates the blade and gives a much cleaner cut, more control of the knife and far less drag on the sides of the blade.
- Grip the fish skin and carefully begin slicing. Stop when you have an inch or two (25 to 50mm) of fillet released.
- Change your grip on the fillet to a secure grip on the tab of fish skin you created with the first cut.
- Firmly hold the knife still and at a fixed angle.
- Wriggle the skin from side to side while pulling backwards on the tab of fish skin.
- Continue this motion through the fillet. You can see that even though the skin in the left hand is creased under the tension, it has no effect where the filet knife is separating the fish skin from the flesh.
Success! The fillet and skin are parted and no flesh has been wasted, nor have you left any skin or scales on the filet.