Mary Dalglish: Fillet a fish
WARNING: If you are at all squeamish, you will see a fish getting filleted if you watch the video.
Growing up on the coast of Maine has taught me a slightly unusual skill set when it comes to Seafood. It's quite normal to go straight to the source rather than the grocery store as you head further up the coast. It's easy to score some of the freshest lobsters right off the boat, steamer clams straight from the mud flats, and yes, fresh whole fish caught from your own fishing line. This has allowed me to master the process of fresh seafood preparation; from opening oysters with ease to picking a lobster clean of all its meat in under 90 seconds, but one of the most asked about preparations is how to fillet a fish. So, you've asked, now I'll answer.
How to fillet a fish:
Make sure that your fish has been cleaned of all of its innards. If possible, ask your fish monger to clean them for you.
Begin by placing the fish on its side with the back fin facing you. Insert a sharp fillet knife behind the side fin with the blade facing away from you. Simply pierce the skin/flesh (but not through any bone) and move the knife down toward the belly. This helps to separate the head from the fillet.
Place the knife tip on the back of the fish just after the head and above the top fin. Slowly and carefully begin to slice down the back side, releasing the fillet from the back bone and ribs.
Once you reach the tail end where the belly cavity ends, push the knife all the way through (making sure to stay above the backbone) and continue to pull the knife right to the tail.
Once this is done, you can slowly slice and peel the fillet away from the body.
Some fish such as salmon can have many small bones from the ribs (pinbones) that are sliced through and remain in the fillet. Not to worry, you can easily remove these with a pair of pliers.