Knowing how to properly filet a fish is very important whether you catch your own or buy whole fish at the market. But, like most sea creatures, things can get… messy if you don’t know what you are doing.
Although it can be intimidating, filleting and de-boning most fish is extremely quick and easy. All you need is a fillet knife and some sort of hand protection like a strong leather, kevlar or chainmail glove.
Have the Correct Tools
A fillet knife is a long, thin, very sharp knife used specifically for cutting into fish. You need the blade to be thin so it is as flexible as possible to slip past and around any bones in the fish.
As always, a sharp knife is a better knife, especially as fish can be extremely slippery, and your knife can easily slip.
Hand protection is also a very important piece of equipment. I recommended all people, even very experienced cooks, have some sort of cut-resistant glove. Not only will this help protect against any slips, but it will also help in grabbing the fish.
Filleting the Fish
As you can see, filleting a fish consists of basically three different cuts, all following the bones of the fish. These cuts can be used for nearly all types of bony fish. Some extremely large or small fish will require slightly modified techniques, but the base is the same.
Something not mentioned in the video, but is important anyways, is to be very careful around the intestines of any fish. If you happen to cut the intestines, bile and other bodily wastes can seep out. If this happens, make sure to wash the fish flesh in water thoroughly.
One thing to note is that these techniques are only for fish. Many other species of aquatic animal, like squid, octopus, and poisonous fish like blowfish, require very specific preparation techniques. Always make sure to know what species of fish you are cleaning, and if it requires anything special.