Dressing And Filleting

Although most of you will work with ready-to-cook fish products, you should know how to clean and fillet whole fish.

1. Dressing.

Figure 14.2 illustrates how to dress a whole fish.

2. Filleting.

There are two basic shapes of fish: flatfish (like flounder and sole) and round fish (like cod and trout).They are filleted differently. Flatfish have four fillets; round fish have two. Figures 14.3 and 14.4 show the two methods for filleting these fish.

(c) Cut off tail and fins. Scissors are easiest to use.
(e) The fish is dressed.

Figure 14.3 Filleting flatfish.

(a) Use a thin-bladed, flexible knife. Cut off the head, just behind the gills. (This step is optional.)

(b) Make a cut from head to tail just to one side of the center line, down to the backbone.

(a) Use a thin-bladed, flexible knife. Cut off the head, just behind the gills. (This step is optional.)

(b) Make a cut from head to tail just to one side of the center line, down to the backbone.

(c) Turn the knife so that it is almost parallel to the table. Making long, smooth cuts, cut horizontally against the backbone toward the outer edge of the fish. Gently separate the fillet from the bone.

(d) Remove the fillet completely. Repeat to remove the three remaining fillets.

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(c) Turn the knife so that it is almost parallel to the table. Making long, smooth cuts, cut horizontally against the backbone toward the outer edge of the fish. Gently separate the fillet from the bone.

(d) Remove the fillet completely. Repeat to remove the three remaining fillets.

Figure 14.4 Filleting round fish.

(e) To skin, place the fillet skin side down on the work surface with the tail pointing toward you. Holding the skin at the tail end, slide the knife between the skin and flesh, scraping against the skin to avoid cutting into the fillet. Note: Dover or English sole is skinned before filleting. Cut through the skin at the tail. Holding the tail with one hand, peel off the skin toward the head. Caution:Do not do this with flounder. You will tear the flesh.

Figure 14.4 Filleting round fish.

(b) Cut under the flesh toward the tail; detach it.

(a) Cut into the top of the fish along one side of the backbone from head to tail. Cut against the bone with smooth strokes of the knife to separate the flesh from the bone.

(b) Cut under the flesh toward the tail; detach it.

(c) Cut along the curved rib bones and finish detaching the fillet at the head end. Turn the fish over and repeat to remove the second fillet. Lightly run your finger along the flesh side of the fillets to see if any bones remain in them. Pull out any you find. Skin the fillets as for flatfish.

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