In many recipes, dark or tough skin is removed from fish fillets before they are cooked.
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STEP 1: Lay the fillet skin-side down on the work surface with the tail end towards you. Holding the tail end firmly with your fingertips, make a small cut through the flesh just to the skin.
STEP 2: Angle the knife so that the cutting edge is against the skin and the blade almost parallel to it. Cut the fish flesh away from the skin, working away from you and using a slight sawing motion, still holding the skin firmly with your other hand.
STEP 3: Remove any remaining small bones with the tweezers.
“Only tender fish flesh remains after fillets have been skinned”
Tweezers are precision tool for taking out small bones
STEP 4: Rinse the mackerel fillets again with cold water, put on paper towels, and pat dry.
“Once they have been skinned, the mackerel fillets are quite fragile, so handle them gently.”
How to Fillet a Fish
|Filleting fish yourself leaves you with the head, bones and trimmings for making fish stock. This is where a very sharp, flexible and thin-bladed knife is essential.|
STEP 1: To fillet a round fish, lay the scaled and gutted fish flat on a work surface and cut through to the backbone by the head and tail; score along one side of the backbone. With the knife at a slight angle, and working as close to the backbone as possible, cut down with a slight sawing motion to lift the top fillet away from the bone. Keeping the knife as close to the bone as possible ensures that you will not lose any flesh. Lift away the fillet, turn the fish over and repeat the process to gain a second fillet.
STEP 2: To fillet a flat fish, lay the gutted fish in front of you with the head furthest away. Score the edge of the fish to mark the fillets. Starting at the head, score down the length of one side of the backbone. Slip the knife under the flesh at the top, keeping close to the bone. Cut the flesh away from me bone with a sawing motion the whole length of the fillet. Repeat on the other side of the backbone for the second fillet, then turn the fish over and repeat the process for two more fillets.
How to Fillet a Flatfish
Flatfish, such as sole and flounder, are usually cut into four fillets, two on either side of the central bones. The filleting technique is quite similar to that used for round fish.
STEP 1: With the point of a filleting knife, cut around the edge of the fish to outline the shape of the fillets. With the point of the knife, cut the fish to the bone in a semicircle behind the head.
“Hold fish steady to cut accurately with other hand.Be sure filleting knife is sharp”
STEP 2: Cut through to the bone, along the spine at the center of the fish, in a straight line from head to tail.
STEP 3: Keeping the knife almost flat, slip the blade between the flesh and the rib bones and cut away the fillet, using a stroking motion.
STEP 4: Continue cutting until the fillet and flesh lying along the fins are detached with the skin in one piece. Turn the fish around and slip the knife under the flesh of the second fillet. Detach the fillet from the bones as for the first fillet.
STEP 5: Turn the fish over and repeat the process on the other side. If the fish heads and bones are to be used to make stock, wash them thoroughly under cold water.
“Lift flesh away as you stroke knife along bones. Keep blade as flat as possible.”
How to Skin a Fish
STEP 1: Lay the fillet skin-side down on the work surface and slip the knife between the fish and skin at the narrow end. Begin working the knife along the length of the fillet, using a light sawing motion to free the flesh from the skin.
STEP 2: To hold the skin firm while you work, hold it against the work surface, using kitchen paper to give you a good grip.