It was my dear old grandmother who first showed me how to fillet a
fish. It would have been a herring, which in those days were still
plentiful in the North Sea - we had them for dinner every Friday.
Herring roe? Yummee! Poor man's caviar she called it, God bless her.
The first requirement for filleting fish successfully is a good quality filleting knife with a flexible, finely honed and razor sharp blade.
The second? A cut-proof glove - and the third's a good surface to do the filleting on.
On our sailboat Alacazam we use polyethylene chopping boards, the largest of which isn't nearly big enough.
A proper fish cleaning table would be the thing if I could find somewhere suitable to fit it, with a pressure water supply right next to it. Oh well, never mind.
Now on my next boat...
But I'll quit dreaming and get back to showing how to fillet a fish!
Having already all the fins and removed the scales, let's see how to fillet a fish.
First, a small one - say, a mackerel or school bass (but remember minimum size limits).
Were it not for the shame and humiliation, I'd name the angler in the pic on the right who isn't wearing a cut-proof glove...
For filleting fish larger than this you'll need to modify step three as follows:~
Filleting fish like plaice and other flatfish is done slightly differently. Incidentally, flatfish start out life in a normal vertical plane but at an early stage opt for a horizontal lifestyle on the seabed. This makes one of their eyes largely redundant, so it migrates around to the upper side where it can be of use.
Flatfish are best cooked whole - or filleted like this:~
Voila, one fish - four fillets.
So that's how to fillet a fish, but not all fish are best dealt with in this way...
There's nothing very difficult about filleting fish, but for large, round section fish such as tuna and wahoo, cutting them into steaks (or cutlets) about 1" thick is a better option.
Steaking a King Mackerel
To cut through the backbone you'll need a meat cleaver or machete coupled with a smart blow from a mallet or similar implement.
Worth all the effort? Oh Yes!
The object of the whole fishing endeavour!
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