How to Fillet a Fish

If chef Lynn Crawford can teach us how to fillet a fish, she can teach anyone.

  1. Choose your fish wisely. Fresh fish shouldn't smell "fishy" and should have clear, rounded eyes and firm flesh that springs back when gently touched.
  2. Ask your fishmonger to clean the fish for you (a.k.a. remove the scales and guts).
  3. Back at home, cut off the top fin with kitchen shears.
  4. Arm yourself with a sharp filleting or thin chef's knife. With your knife at a 45-degree angle, make an incision directly behind the side fin and gills, cutting all the way down to the backbone.
  5. To remove the top fillet, turn your knife towards the tail, parallel to the cutting board, and cut along the top side of the backbone, all the way to the tail.
  6. Turn the fish over so that the remaining fillet is on top and repeat Steps 4 and 5. (You should be left with just the backbone and head.)
  7. Using a spoon, scrape any excess flesh from the bones and save for cooking in pastas, casseroles, etc.
  8. Using tweezers, carefully remove pin bones from fillets. If desired, freeze bones for stock.

Waste Not, Want Not!

None of the gorgeous fish used on the show went to waste. All of the leftovers were (properly) cleaned and donated to a local food bank.

 

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