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How To Fillet A Fish? ( The Best Way ) - Page 2

post #31 of 41

Round fish;

 

(assuming right handed cook)

 

knife in right hand

fish in the left.

Never put your knife down.

Pick up fish, place it on board, wipe it down on both sides.

with the fish spine towards you, hook gills over the right edge of cutting board, with spine as close to the edge of table as possible.

Hold fish with left hand, with a clean dry cloth.

Starting just behind the gills, cut down at an angle towards the point of the spine where the gills "meet" behind the head.Stop at the spine

Turn blade towards tail of fish, with your blade resting horizontally against the spine.

Holding belly of fish out of the way with your left hand, begin long purposeful slices towards the tail, keeping your blade against the spine of the fish. Do not lift handle of knife, or tip of blade... keep it level.

You will hear a clicking as you do this, this is good.

Continue until you reach the tail.

remove filet.

do not set your knife down.

Wipe down board.

flip fish over, hooking gills on left side of board, spine towards you.

repeat in the opposite direction. Remember to hold belly out of the way with your left hand.

 

If done correctly, there will be very little flesh left on the carcass of the fish, and the filets will havesome evidence of the spine running down the centre of the filet.

 

Set carcass aside.

 

Place filet in front of you with bone side up. I do it with the ribs facing me. Cut the ribs off in one piece by getting under them and removing them with a thin bladed knife.

Remove any "spine" in the same manner.

Bones for the stock pot.

 

Place filet on board with tailend  to your left.

about 1/2 cm from end cut down into flesh, stopping at skin, turn blade toward head end, laying blade flat against skin (actually with blade facing slightly down towards cutting board)

Grab tail end of skin in left hand, using a dry cloth .Holding knife still, gently pull to your left while using a slight sawing motion with your left hand... your knife doesn't move.

Skin should be clean. No flesh.

 

Use fish tweezers to remove pinbones. Pull bones straight out... not up, not back, not forwards... straight out.

Feel for them with your fingers.

Anyone can cook salmon with bones in... people pay for food expecting something better.

 

Now, grab a metal spoon, and scrape all the flesh off the carcass.

the head and spine hit the stock pot... or, if you want to score points with the Chinese ladies in the Stewarding department, give them to them.

 

This is what a fish knife is for. Right tool for the job. I've done a ton of fish with both a fish knife and a 10 Chef's knife... give me the fish knife any day. Both work... one works better.

post #32 of 41

For Red Snapper, I like to filet from the head to the tail, but don't cut all the way through the tail. Leave it attached, flip the filet over, and remove the skin from the filet. Then i cut out the pin bones in the middle. (and of course remove the rib bones)

 

Catfish are a pain in my rear, though.

post #33 of 41

Catfish are a pain in my rear, though.

 

Are you thinking you should be different from the rest of us? Catfish are a pain in everybody's butt.

 

BTW, leaving the tail skin in place as a hinge works for any round fish. Bigger fish, it's true, mean you have to have a large prep area. But if you've got the space, it's the most efficient way to go.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #34 of 41

i am thinking of trying the Japanese method... been tossing the idea around for some time and watching the videos... it just seems much more perfect. unfortunately, i am a bit obsessive compulsive, so that looks very enticing to me.

 

i checked out a Shun Pro deba today and the spine was 5mm thick! i will probably try the technique with the myriad of knives I have before getting a one. i'm thinking chinese cleaver (med thickness) for head cut, then i'll get in there with the gyuto or santoku for filet. almost the same thing, right?

post #35 of 41

Catfish are easy to skin with an old pair of regular pliers. 2-3 cuts after that for on the bone(head, belly, tail is optional because I like how crispy it gets)..

post #36 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huy Bui View Post

i am thinking of trying the Japanese method... been tossing the idea around for some time and watching the videos... it just seems much more perfect. unfortunately, i am a bit obsessive compulsive, so that looks very enticing to me.

 

i checked out a Shun Pro deba today and the spine was 5mm thick! i will probably try the technique with the myriad of knives I have before getting a one. i'm thinking chinese cleaver (med thickness) for head cut, then i'll get in there with the gyuto or santoku for filet. almost the same thing, right?


No, unfortunately it's not the same thing. Don't waste money on the Shun, though -- you can get an inexpensive 180mm deba if you surf around the various US distributors or even eBay. The biggest difference between a deba and these other knives is that the deba is absolutely inflexible and relatively massive, which dramatically changes the way it handles when you make these cuts. You could certainly try to learn the basic procedure with a santoku or gyuto, but I think you'll find it fairly infuriating, especially trying to cut on top of the spine without slashing up the fillet.

post #37 of 41

Great info - thank you.

 

I love smoked eel - the bones don't seem to be a problem. If someone else does the work for you :)

 

But I have had freshwater eel caught in Tasmania, Australia, where a friend soaked it in vingared water overnight without boning, then drained, dried and floured it 24 hours later, fried in lots and *lots of butter, a tonne of S&P.  It was great juicy finger food - sure you had to look out for the bones a little, but heck it was nice.  Not even skinned.  With the flour and the butter and seasoning it was almost the best part.

 

I think the brining had a lot to do with the softer bones, not sure, But it was the tastiest way, apart from smoked, that I've ever had eel.

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #38 of 41

1. What is required is a simple cutting board or flat surface, a thin flexible blade for cutting along the backbone, and a broad flat blade for removing the hard skin.

2. Holding the fish flat on the cutting board, and while using the thin knife, pierce the skin behind the front dorsal fin.

3. Slice the knife diagonally across the fish, cutting to, but not through, the backbone.

 

Step 1Step 2Step 3

4. Hold the fish by the head and run the blade down the backbone towards the tail with a sawing motion. Do not try to cut too much of the fillet off the backbone at this stage, this will come later.

5. When near the tail region, hold the knife flat against the backbone and push the point right through the side of the fillet. With the knife protruding out the other side, cut right through the remaining fillet towards the tail.

6 & 7 Peel the fillet back with one hand while cutting the fillet away from the backbone using small slicing motions. Don't try to cut too much away in one stroke. It is better to use many small cuts, guiding the knife along any bony structures and removing all that beautiful flesh.

 

Step 4Step 5Step 6

8. The most difficult task is to remove the fillet from the rib cage area. A very sharp knife is essential here. Using small strokes again, just feel your way around the bones, eventually completely removing one side of the flesh.

9. Turn the fish over making sure to hold the fish fairly flat on the cutting surface, and repeat the procedure to remove the other fillet. Some fisherman will keep the first fillet loosely attached to the backbone to improve the "shape" of the fish and making it easier to work for removing the second fillet.

 

Step 7Step 8Step 9

10. The fish "wings" are regarded by some culinary experts as the second best eating part of any fish, second only to the meat found at the back of the head. Break or cut them off whole and save them for the BBQ.

11. And there you have it, two superb fillets, the wings and the carcass.

12. Next comes the removal of the skin, note that the fish has not been scaled and this is not necessary.Hold the tough skin in one hand and using the flat bladed knife, slice a small portion of the flesh away from the skin.

 

Step 10Step 11Step 12

13. Cut a "finger hole" into the skin.

14. Hold the skin by the finger hole, and using the broad bladed knife, gently remove the skin from the remaining fillet. It is important to hold the knife at the correct angle and to pull on the skin, not push or cut with the knife. Holding the blade too flat will result in a jagged cutting action and probably leave some skin on, hold it too upright and you will slice through the skin and make it difficult to re-start the procedure. There is no substitute for practice, so go catch a few and give it some trial and error until you work the right angle to suite your blade.

post #39 of 41

When you talk about the meat at the back of the head are you referring to the  cheeks?

post #40 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer View Post

If any of you are just learning, it would be time well spent to go watch some pros do their thing

If nothing else it will teach you humility!

But as with all things in life, the more you do it, the better at it you become. And those guys do a lot of fileting.



We can probably see all the good, bad & ugly on YouTube. 

"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #41 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by oldpro View Post

When you talk about the meat at the back of the head are you referring to the  cheeks?


i would guess so. the "cheeks" are usually considered the best part of the fish.

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