How to Fillet a Fish Like a Professional Chef in 2024

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Listen, if you’ve never done it before, filleting a fish can seem like a very challenging task to undertake. But I’ll tell you, it’s not complicated. You can quickly and easily fillet a fish like a pro with the appropriate methods and equipment. I’m going to walk you through the entire process of how to fillet a fish in no time. You’ll be filleting fish like a top Michelin star chef by the end of this guide.

Guide on How to Fillet a Fish

how to fillet a fish

Step 1: Gather Your Tools

Before you even think about filleting a fish, you need to have the right tools on hand. This is crucial, my friend. You will need a sharp fillet knife, a cutting board, and a pair of kitchen scissors or shears. And let me tell you, investing in a high-quality fillet knife is worth it. Trust me on this one. It’s also helpful to have a pair of pliers or a fish scaler to remove any scales that may be on the fish. Don’t skimp on these tools, you’ll definitely regret it.

Step 2: Prepare the Fish for Filleting

Before you start filleting the fish, it’s important to properly prepare it. Begin by cleaning the fish by removing the scales, gutting it, and removing the head and tail. This may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and some practice, it will become second nature.

To remove the scales, use a fish scaler or the back of a knife to scrape off the scales, starting from the tail and working your way toward the head. Once the scales are removed, use a sharp knife to make an incision just below the gills, and then cut down to the tail to gut the fish. Remove the internal organs and rinse the fish thoroughly with cold water.

Next, remove the head and tail of the fish by making a cut just behind the gills, and then cut through the spine. Once the head and tail are removed, the fish is now ready to be filleted.

It’s important to note that the type of fish you are filleting may require different preparation steps. Consult a guide based on the type of fish you are filleting.

Once the fish is cleaned and prepared, lay it on a cutting board and prepare to begin the filleting process.

How to Fillet a Fish

Step 3: Make the First Cut for Filleting a Fish

Hold the fish by the tail and using your fillet knife, make a cut just behind the gills and along the backbone.

This is the starting point for filleting a fish, and it is important to keep the knife as close to the bones as possible to ensure that you are removing the most meat.

Start by holding the fish firmly by the tail and position your knife at a slight angle towards the head of the fish. Make sure to keep your fingers out of the way and use a steady and smooth motion to make the cut. It’s important to keep your knife sharp, as a dull knife will make the process more difficult and can cause uneven cuts. Remember to keep the knife close to the bones, this will ensure that you are not wasting any meat and will give you the most meat from the fish

Step 4: Continue Filleting

Once you have made the first cut, continue filleting the fish by angling the knife towards the tail and following the bones to remove the meat. To ensure a clean cut be sure to use a sawing motion and keep the knife as close to the bones as possible. This is where practice comes in, the more you fillet, the better you’ll get at it.

Step 5: Removing the Ribs

Removing the ribs is a crucial step when filleting a fish. This step will help you remove any remaining bones, as well as remove the ribcage to make the fillets look more presentable.

To remove the ribs, use your kitchen scissors or shears to cut along the top of the fish’s ribcage, following the bones. Be sure to cut as close to the bones as possible without cutting into the bones. This will help you remove the most meat while still keeping the fillets in good shape.

Once you have removed the ribcage, use your fillet knife to clean up any remaining bones or meat that may be attached to the ribcage. This will give you a clean, presentable fillet.

Step 6: Repeat on the Other Side

Repeat the process on the other side of the fish, making sure to remove as much meat as possible. This is where you’ll see the difference between a pro and an amateur, the pro will remove as much meat as possible.

Step 7: Trim the Fillets

Once the fillets have been removed, use your knife to trim any remaining bones or skin. This step is crucial to ensure that your fish fillets are ready to be cooked and served. The process of trimming the fillets involves running the knife along the edges to remove any bones or skin that may still be attached.

It is important to note that this step should be done with a very sharp knife, as a dull knife can make the process difficult and may result in uneven fillets. Additionally, take care to trim the fillets as close to the bones as possible without wasting any of the meat. This will help to yield the maximum amount of meat from your fish.

It’s also important to pay attention to any dark meat, which is a sign of spoilage and should be removed, as it can affect the taste of your fish.

Trimming the fillets is the last step before cooking and serving, so it’s important to take your time and do it carefully to ensure that your fish is ready to be enjoyed to its fullest.

how to fillet a fish

Step 8: Serve

Your fish fillets are now ready to be cooked and served. This is the best part, enjoying the fruits of your labor. Now you know exactly how to fillet fish the right way. Let us know what you think.

Now that you are done with the fish, you can also check out this guide on how to cut a chicken into smaller pieces




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