Fillet A Fish. How To.

Going grocery shopping?

Lately grocery shopping here in the United States has begun to look more and more like convenience store shopping. We as consumers are continually seeking out the quickest and easiest purchase possible, especially when it comes to our food: Individually wrapped to-go snacks, when we could just as easily pack food to-go ourselves.  Soups already in disposable microwaveable cups, just so there’s fewer dishes to wash later.  Blocks of cheese already sliced and individually wrapped. Plastic containers of garlic cloves already pealed and sealed.  Packs of vegetables plastic wrapped around a non-recyclable styrofoam plate.  I could go on forever, but I have a feeling you get the idea.

This week, I challenge you to go down a different avenue while making your food and beverage purchases; and I don’t necessarily mean a difficult route, but rather a different one.  Shopping for food to sustain your life should not be a chore, but rather a pleasure in which you indulge. Consider going to an actual pasta store, like Terra Cotta Pasta Company and ask for some fresh pasta packaged to order.

Farmer's Market Sunflowers

Wake Robin Farm Sunflowers

Or pay a visit to your local farmer’s market and buy something straight from the earth, like carrots with their green tops still present, packaged the way they actually grew, maybe even with some dirt still on them.

Farmer's Markets Carrot

Farmer’s Markets Carrot

Or try going to your local fish market, like Seaport Fish in Rye, rather than the your typical chain grocery store, and ask for a type of fish you haven’t tried before;  something other than cod, haddock, or salmon, after all those are not the only types of fish in the ocean.

Seaport Fish, Rye, NH

Seaport Fish, Rye, NH

 

Keep in mind when we diversify our diets, we’re diversifying the ocean.  And better yet, consider buying a whole fish if they have it.  Don’t worry, it’s more than likely already headed and gutted because that is typically done right on the boat for the freshest fillet.

What’s that you say?  

You don’t know how to fillet a fish?

Allow me to show you how with this Haddock caught while aboard Sweet Misery:

STEP 1

First cut just behind the gill

First cut just behind the gill

From the midline to the top of the fish

From the midline to the top of the fish

STEP 2

Cut from the head towards the tail running the knife along the spine

Cut from the head towards the tail running the knife along the spine

Slice all the way to the tail

Slice all the way to the tail

STEP 3

Insert the knife further down peeling back the fillet

Insert the knife further down peeling back the fillet

Work the fillet off the spine all the way to the tail

Work the fillet off the spine all the way to the tail

STEP 4

Keep working the knife down towards the belly of the fish

Keep working the knife down towards the belly of the fish

STEP 5

Cut the fillet away from the fish

Cut the fillet away from the fish

Continue all the way to the tail

Continue all the way to the tail

One fillet down, one more to go

One fillet down, one more to go

STEP 6:  Repeat Steps 1-5 for the other half of the fish

STEP 7:  Peeling the skin from the fillet

Start at the tail end of the fillet and work your way down

Start at the tail end of the fillet and work your way down

Slide the knife along between the skin and the fillet

Slide the knife along between the skin and the fillet

And you're FINISHED!

And you’re FINISHED!

It’s that easy!

Now keep in mind, not all fish are filleted the same, but in the case of finfish such as this haddock, the method shown above should work.  And if you’re worried about making a mess of your kitchen, consider doing it outside.  Feeling unsure of what to do still? Don’t be afraid to ask your local fish market for advice; I’m sure they would be more than happy to show you.

All in a day's work

All in a day’s work

It’s time that we as citizens of the seacoast start taking responsibility for our actions as consumers, especially when it comes to our food, and that may mean going the extra step to make it happen.  Next time you’re given the opportunity to take home a whole fish for dinner, take matters into your own hands and give filleting a try.  It’s a lot simpler than people realize and with a good sharp knife and a little bit of practice, anyone can breakdown a fish just in time for dinner.

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6 thoughts on “Fillet A Fish. How To.

  1. This is fantastic! I think a long fish filleting knife really makes a difference too! Not that I have one but I should get on that. Not to mention, buying a whole fish (chicken, etc.) is so much cheaper!

    • That’s a great point which I totally meant to mention in the post, but forgot. When you pay for a whole fish you aren’t paying the extra fees that come with someone preparing the fish for you, so the price per a pound is much less. All the more reason to buy a whole fish.

      Perhaps in the future, I’ll be reading your blog post about the trials and errors of preparing a whole fish…
      Hmmm…

  2. Wow I remember watching my grandfather filet fish and it brings back wonderful memories of camp. Funny I never think of doing it myself. Will have to give it a try on my own. Great job keep up the good work Sarah!!!
    Trisha

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