Knife Skills: How To Fillet Fish

 In Fish Fillets, Knife Skills

Many people avoid preparing fillet fish at home for one specific reason; they are afraid of filleting a fish and using a sharp knife. And yes, it can be intimidating, and if you are one of those people, we understand entirely. However, we also know that you don’t have to sweat just to fillet a fish, and it is not that difficult as long as you learn the basics of filleting. And everything is much easier if you have a proper filleting knife that’s sharp enough.   

So, if you ever wondered how you fillet a fish, today is your lucky day because we will teach you. Fillet fish is going to be something on your menu every week from now on, and yes, you’ll be doing the filleting.  

How To Fillet Fish  

So, how do you fillet a fish? To properly do it, you’ll need a filleting knife. If you’ve tried to fillet a fish with a chef’s knife or any other and you failed, it’s because of the knife. A knife for filleting is long and thin, and it has a specific flexible blade. The flexibility of the knife is the key to a successful fillet in the end. The flexible blade gives you an opportunity to work closely against the bones as you cut fish. The thinness of a filleting knife will allow the knife to slide between meat and bones smoothly.   

We highly recommend getting one if you don’t have it because filleting a fish with a regular and rigid knife isn’t the same. It’ll be difficult, and you’ll end up frustrated.   

Many knives are available that would be great for filleting and don’t cost a fortune. You don’t have to buy an expensive filleting knife and break your budget, especially if you don’t prepare fillets often. What’s more important than an expensive knife is a sharp knife. Many people get intimidated by a sharp knife, and the truth is that a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. Also, it’s always easier to work with a sharp knife, especially when it comes to working with fish.   

Another excellent addition to your filleting kit is fish tweezers. With them, you’ll be able to pluck tiny bones from your fillet fish, making sure you’ve got a safe and boneless fillet. Fish tweezers should also be expensive, and you can get the most basic, standard type.   

How Do You Fillet a Fish: Guide  

Here we’ll try to explain to you how straightforwardly you fillet a fish.  

Clean and Scale The Fish  

The whole fish first needs to be cleaned before you start filleting. For this, you’ll need kitchen shears to snip off all the fins. Once you do that, you’ll want to scale the fish. Scaling a fish can be an unpleasant experience because it’s a messy job. If you have an opportunity for someone else to do it instead of you, let them do it. But if you are the one who caught the fish, you’ll have to scale it and be prepared for scales flying all over your kitchen. To scale, you can use a tool that’s made for scaling a fish, and it’s a fish scaler. You can use a dull side knife if you don’t have one. However, if you are going to do this often, we recommend you get a fish scaler; it will make your life easier. The best way to scale the fish is from tail to head.  

Once you scale the fish, you need to slice it open and pull out the guts. You should slice the fish’s belly, and once you take out the guts, you should also rip the gills out. Clean the fish thoroughly to prepare it for the rest of the process.  

Always look twice for fish scales around the belly and near the fish’s head. Often a lot of them are left there unnoticed, and it makes your job filleting later a bit harder. Even if a fishmonger does the scaling, you’ll want to double-check the fish once you bring it home and before you cut the fish.  

Fillet a Fish  

Once the fish is scaled, gutted, and clean, everything else is pretty much straightforward if you have a sharp filleting knife. The next step will give you the answer to how you fillet a fish. You are supposed to slice down the fish behind the head. You shouldn’t cut fish too close to the head, but just right behind where the meaty section meets the head.  

Next, you’ll want to cut along the backside of the fish, moving from where the head is to the tail. It’s crucial to make precise cuts and cut right above the bones. The best cut you’ll achieve is when you put even pressure on the blade of the knife. An even pressure will ensure that the knife is pressed just against the bones as you are cutting a fillet fish, and by that, you won’t be losing any good parts of the meat.  

Another critical thing you need to consider is your other hand. You’ll want to place it on top of the fish to help you make fine cuts, but be sure to keep it away from the blade.  

Always make long and even strokes with your knife, and work towards the belly. You don’t have to hurry up, especially if this is your first time doing this.  

Once you have your fillet fish, you can turn the fish over to the other side and cut another fillet. You’ll be left with the fish head and the bones that hopefully don’t have a lot of meat on them. You can save them and use them to make some tasty fish stock.  

Double Check For Bones  

Your work is not done yet; you need to clean the fillets you made. It’s essential to trim the belly flaps and any left bones. At this point, you’ll want to feel the fillet for any tiny bones, and the best way to do it is with your fingers. If you feel some bones in your fillet, you’ll want to use the tweezers to pull them out. There’s almost always a bone left, especially along the line where the spine was and the head.  

Fillet Fish Portions  

If your fish was small, your two fillets are your two portions. But if the fish was larger, you’ll want to make good portions out of your fillets. This is the most straightforward step, and it’s just portioning and cutting the fillets to desirable portions. The part where the tail was is a bit thinner, so that part you’ll want to leave is a bit bigger.  

The Best Fish In Miami 

If you are interested in trying the best fish in Miami, we invite you to visit Stiltsville Fish Bar. We look forward to hosting you soon and trying our delicious fish dishes. Call us today and book a reservation at the best seafood restaurant in the heart of the Sunset Harbor neighborhood in Miami.  

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