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How to Fillet Fish

by Staff Writer

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Cutlery

Things You Need:

  • Cutting board
  • Flexible blade knife
  • Broad blade knife

Anyone who is serious about seafood in the kitchen should learn how to fillet fish. Filleting fish takes a certain amount of finesse, so don't expect to get it perfect the first time. If you can find the right cutlery and master the technique, however, you'll be able to have bone-free fish fillets in a flash.

Filleting a Fish:

  1. Pierce the skin. While holding the fish on the cutting board, use your flexible knife to pierce the skin just behind the front fin.

  2. Use the backbone as a guide. Cut diagonally toward the backbone with the knife but do not cut through the backbone. Use the backbone as a guide for your knife and saw toward the tail.

  3. Pull the fillet. In a slicing motion, cut and pull the fillet away from the backbone, being careful not to take too much of the fillet at once. Be patient and take it slowly.

  4. Push the knife through. When you reach the tail, push the point of the knife through to the other side. Now you are ready to remove one side.

  5. Remove fillet from the rib cage. The hardest job is removing the fillet from the rib cage and making sure that you don't get bones attached to your fillet. Make sure your knife is sharp so you can carve around the bones and remove one side.

  6. Turn it over. With one side finished, turn the fish over, making sure it is flat against the cutting board.

  7. Repeat. Repeat the same procedure described above for this side of the fish.

  8. Remove the skin. Now it's time to remove the skin. This will be accomplished with the broad blade knife by cutting a small portion of the fillet away from the skin. If you make a hole for your finger, this task will become much easier.

  9. Remove remaining skin. While holding the skin by the hole, carefully remove the remaining skin from the fillet. You should always be careful when using sharp knives -- especially when attempting a new technique such as the one described here. When enjoying your catch at dinner, watch out for small bones that may have slipped through the filleting process.

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