Fresh fish is extremely tasty, and it's really good for you too. Many popular species of flat and round fish are rather bony, which can make them tricky to eat. However, you can remove the pesky bones by learning how to fillet fish correctly. You don't need any specialist equipment for this job, just a sharp knife and a clean, wooden chopping board.
Here's a quick guide on how to do it.
How to fillet flat fish
- Start by laying the fish on a board with its head facing away from you. Take a sharp knife and cut around the fish's head, continuing on down the centre of the fish, pushing the knife right through to its spine.
- Now tackle the fillet closest to you. Slide the point of your knife underneath the flesh at the head end of the fish.
- Hold the knife parallel to the bones, and slice the fillet away. Use long, smooth strokes of the knife for this to avoid a ragged finish to the fillet.
- Next, turn the fish around so that its tail is facing away from you, and remove the second fillet by making your cut from the tail to the head.
- To remove the remaining two fillets on the other side of the fish, turn it over and repeat the whole process.
How to fillet round fish
- Start by placing the fish on the board with its back facing away from you and its head pointing to the left.
- Lift up the fish's gill fin and make a cut at an angle behind the fin, finishing at the top of its head.
- Holding the fish firmly, push the knife into the head end. With the knife as flat as you can manage to hold it, slice along the top of the fish's back, right along to the tail.
- When you reach the end of the fish's belly cavity, slide the knife through the flesh and over the spine.
- Keep cutting towards the tail, with the knife flat to the bone. To remove the fillet, lift the flesh up and use long, smooth strokes to remove the fillet from the fish's rib cage.
- Now turn the fish over so that the head is facing to the right. Push the knife into the tail end of the fish and make one long incision along the fish's back towards its head.
- Next, repeat the process as described in steps #2 to #5.
When it comes to filleting fish, practice makes perfect. What a perfect excuse to eat more delicious fresh fish!