Deboning And Skinning Your Fish

When to debone a fish can depend on your preference. You can either debone a fish before or after cooking it. As for myself, I’ve found it easier to debone a fish after it has been cooked, but then again, I usually find it more enjoyable to eat a fillet that has been deboned before being cooked. Like I said, it’s up to your personal tastes whether you’re going to debone your fish after or before cooking it.

You do have to clean your fish thoroughly, inside and out, before deboning it. After it has been gutted and rinsed thoroughly, lay the fish on its side and cut straight down, just behind the gills, until the knife reaches the backbone. Make sure that the knife is positioned flat against the backbone, parallel to the surface, with the sharp edge facing the tail. Then cut along the fish, following the backbone all the way down to the tail. Turn the fish over and repeat on the other side.

After the backbone has been removed, the ribs and pin bones are next. You can easily remove the rib bones by slicing between the bones and the fillet. The pin bones can be removed by using a pair of needle-nosed pliers or tweezers to pull them out. Some pin bones are so small that they cannot be easily seen, so you have to feel around for them with your fingers.

Depending on your cooking style or preference, you can either skin your fish next or wait until it is cooked. If you’re grilling the fish, then I wouldn’t recommend skinning it after it’s cooked, because that removes the seared flavor from the grill. With that said, it’s usually easier to remove the skin after a fish has been cooked. To remove the skin of a cooked fish, you can grab the skin at the tail with a pair of tongs and pull it away. It’s better to do this while the fish is still very hot; that’s why I recommend using a pair of tongs. If the fish is hot, the skin will just easily peel away, almost like sliding off the meat of the fish.

If you want to skin a fish before cooking it, place the fillet on a flat surface, with the skin side face down. Now cut through the fillet at the tail end, until the knife touches the skin. Don’t cut all the way through the skin. Rotate the knife so that the blade is lying flat and parallel to the cutting surface, with the sharp edge facing the head of the fish. Use a gentle sawing motion to slide and cut between the skin and the meat. Remember to keep the skin pulled tightly, and the edge of the knife must also be angled slightly downward, away from the fillet.

Use sharp knives when cleaning, deboning, and skinning your fish. Avoid serrated blades also. Dull edges, as well as serrated ones, have an annoying tendency to tear through the meat of the fish, not slice through it. The same goes with an electric knife; using it will just shred the fillet. Furthermore, if you’re skinning an uncooked fish and the skin is slippery, just sprinkle a little coarse salt on your fingers and on the cutting surface itself to prevent the fish from slipping and sliding.

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About The Author, Syahrul Azlan Idris -
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