Fileting a fish is simple (with practice!). Our example is this beautiful farmed Striped Bass from Pacifico Aquaculture, located in Baja, Mexico. They do a great job, keeping their fish relatively small compared to the wild. They’re able to harvest sooner, resulting in fish that are clean, sustainable, and help preserve the wild population when the season is closed. Once you learn this method, you can filet 95% of fish available!
Before cutting, give your fish a good rinse. Don’t soak it, just enough to remove the slime layer. Fish are naturally slimy. If it has slime when you purchase, this is a good thing! That means it's fresh.
Dry your fish before starting the cut. The less wet, the less sliding around your cutting board.
Starting with the right side of the fish (you might start with the opposite side of the fish if you're left-handed), make a cut behind the pectoral fin. Then, come down towards the belly, cutting through the skin
Next, make a tail cut. Then, slide the knife along the backbone, pressing down on the fish to hold it still, until you reach your first cut. When you get to the ribs you’ll have to angle you’ll knife up a little bit.
Once the ribs are separated, you’ll want to make sure the belly is laying flat. Slide your knife through the cavity lining and cut down towards the tail, removing the first filet.
Make the same cuts on the opposite side of the fish. You will have the two filets from the fish.
Next, we’ll take the bones out of each fillet, using fish tweezers (we’re using Kuchenprofi tweezers). You will be able to feel the bones with your fingers.
If you’d like, remove the collars by sliding your knife along the gill plates of the fish, towards the jaw and back towards the head. Use scissors if you need to make final cuts through the bone. The collars are a great treat and really make your presentation of your fish impressive!
After you’ve finished, rinse the carcass and use it to make fish stock. Add carrots, celery, bay leaf, onions, water to cover, and simmer for 2 hours.