Let’s say, you have caught a fish or bought it fresh from the market or you are still thinking about buying it but you have no idea how to cut, clean and cook it. To help you out with that unfortunate matter, we have created this short and easy guide and a little Salmon-related recipe at the end.
Tools you will need
Step 1: Scaling
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Firstly, you will need to rinse the slippery slime off the fish by holding it under cold water because scaling is ten times harder when the fish is slipping off your hands. Let the fish underwater for a bit longer to loosen up the scale and rinse off the slime properly.
Once you’ve done that, you will need a large bucket to scale the fish in it because scaling can get quite messy. You can also use a towel or a newspaper but be prepared for cleaning up afterwards.
Fish scales are also quite sharp, so putting on a pair of disposable gloves will save you from hurting your hands.
Now put the fish flat on its side and grab the tail firmly to prevent slipping. Take the knife in your dominant hand and turn it to its blunt edge since scaling requires a blunt knife. Put the blunt edge against the skin of the fish near its tails fin.
Start scraping the fish moving from its tails to he head until that side of the fish has no scales left on it and do the same on the other side.
Step 2: Cutting
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Put the fish on a cutting board, put your none active hand firmly on top of it and start cutting the bottom of the belly with a knife. Then slit the stomach from bottom to the neck by sawing or slicing methods, depending on the softness of the fish and your knife.
Cut from the top of the fish's gills down to the neck bone, then behind the fish's gills until the gills are detached from the fish. Here is when you can cut the head of the fish if you are not going to cook it. Cut it off directly behind the gills.
Step 3: Clearing out the stomach
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This might be the least enjoyable step but without it, you can never cook a fish.
After you have cut the belly up to the gills, pull out the insides and remove them using your fingers or a small spoon and a knife to cut the gill filaments that are still attached to the base of the head.
Pull up on the loose gills with your fingers, then start pulling down towards the bottom of the fish. All the entrails will come out if not, you can clean the rest of it while washing.
Step 4: Washing
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This is the easiest yet the most important part; you need to wash it thoroughly and not leave any unwanted insides.
Take the slippery fish in your hands, hold the stomach open under the cold water and scrub it out with your thumb until all the extra blood and guts are washed away. Don’t forget to wash the outside as well.
Never wash fish with hot water because that will damage the meat.
Step 5: Filleting
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You can skip this step if you are cooking the fish entirely. But if not, continue reading.
Place the fish on the cutting board with the tail facing away from you. Then cut the head off (if you haven’t done that already) with a sharp knife.
Grip the tail of the fish firmly with your free hand. Begin from between the neck bone and the meat, hold the knife flat and start cutting up along the backbone of the fish towards the tail. Stop before you get to the back fin.
Remove the top fillet and repeat cutting along the backbone on the other side.
After that, cut the back end of the fillet and slice at an angle between the skin and the meat until the skin is removed. You can remove the bones with your knife when you are filleting the fish, or you can use a fork when you cook the fish.
Step 6: Cooking
For this part, we have a specific recipe for you to cook along or save it for later. We are going to fry a Rosemary Herb Salmon with Cheese.
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- 300gm salmon fillet
- 1/2 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1/2 tbsp. honey
- 2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 slice cheddar cheese, shredded
- a handful of broccoli, blanched
- Combine the butter, honey, rosemary & pepper together. Rub the mixture evenly over the fish fillet. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Heat up the pan for a minute. Add fish, skin side down and lock the pan. Cook for 3 minutes on medium heat.
- Flip the pan and cook the other side of the fish fillet for 2 minutes. Flip over the pan again, place shredded cheese over fish and scatter blanched broccoli around it.
- Sprinkle extra black pepper and pinch of salt over the broccoli. Close the lid without the lock and cook till the cheese melts completely. Serve immediately after.
In case if you don’t have the tools needed for cutting, cleaning and cooking a fish, we have a list of strong recommendations for you.
Check out the collection of knives at Coolina, which consists of mostly handcrafted extremely sharp and beautiful knives. These knives will serve you a lifetime cutting not only delicate fish but also boney meats that require butchering.
In conclusion: Every dish can seem hard when you don't know how to cook it. Especially fish-based dishes have a quite intimidating cooking process but following our guide, a couple of times might turn you into a pro fish cook.