How to Clean & Fillet Fish
Easy tips for cleaning and filleting fresh fish for the seasfood lover and cook.
Fish is one of the most wholesome foods that man can eat. In fact, people have been eating fish throughout human history. These days, many cooks yearn to add fish to their repertoire, but the whole process of cleaning and filleting fresh fish is a little scary to them. The process of cleaning and filleting fresh fish is relatively simple once the steps are understood.
To begin, you must clean your fresh fish properly in order to maintain its quality during the remaining steps of processing. First, use a knife or fish-scaling tool to remove all of the scales. Removing the scales early on is a key to easy fish cleaning. Next, remove the fish head by cutting just behind the first set of fins. Now, insert your sharp knife into the area where you just removed the head and make a slit in the belly of the fish. You will want to slit the fish belly all the way down to the vent next to the tail. This should open up the cavity of the fish and you can pull or cut away any viscera or organs from inside the fish. The next step is to cut away any additional fins that the fish may have. Do this by cutting into the fish in a circular motion around the fins and remove them. Finally, rinse the fish body and cavity under cold, running water. Now that the fish has been properly cleaned, you can move on to filleting.
Begin the fish filleting process by laying the fish on one side and inserting your knife into the fish body almost to the backbone. Guide your knife along the backbone, exposing the fillet as you cut. You will have to lift and separate the flesh from the bone as you cut. Next, repeat this process for the other side. Once you have created the two fish fillets, place them skin side down and cut through the flesh next to the tail. Do not cut through the skin next to the tail, as you will hold onto this skin as you separate the skin from the flesh. Insert your fillet knife between the flesh and the skin and use a back and forth motion to separate the two. Rinse the fillets with cold water and be sure to dry them before storing or using.
These simple and easy steps are all that it takes to make the most out of fresh fish. With these steps in mind you can prepare fresh fish for any meal.