Fillet a Fish

Filleting is the most efficient way to prepare a fish for the kitchen. It yields a lot of meat without the bones and skin and works for a variety of fish. The key is having a tapered, sharp, flexible blade. After that, fish, a cutting surface, and practice are all you need. 1. Position the fish flat on its side, with the belly facing away from you. Make your first cut directly behind the gill plate and the pectoral fin. The blade should sink down until it touches the backbone, without cutting through it. width=151 2. Turn the blade horizontal, with the sharp edge facing the tail, and cut along the backbone, bouncing the knife off the ribs. Once you reach the end of the rib cage, push the blade through the fish, and cut down to the tail. width=135 3. Go back to the rib cage, and position the blade where the meat meets the bone. Gently work the meat away with the tip of the knife. Use one hand to cut, and the other to guide the fillet off the bone, toward the fish’s belly. width=168 4. With the skin side down, place the knife edge between meat and skin at the tail end. Slice forward, staying flush to the skin. Or poke a finger hole in the skin, to give you something to grip, then pull the fish down the blade. width=166