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  Gone Fishing  Fish Cuisine

Filleting/Skinning Fish

Gutting and Gilling of any fish should be carried out as soon as possible after capture, and gutted fish should be given a thorough wash, inside and out, with sea water. Scaling a fish depends largely on how you intend on preparing and serving it for consumption. Fish baked whole with their scales intact do however retain more internal moisture during the cooking process, as well as the skin being easier to peel off when serving. I however do not like the odd one or two scales in my food, and prefer to scale thoroughly most if not all fish I catch.

If you intend on skinning a fish, naturally there is no need to scale it. Skinning fish enhances the flavour of the fish, as well as prolonging their freezer life. Snook, Trevally, Mullet, Snapper, Mulloway and even my Ruffs taste better with the skin off.

Skinning Fish

The taste of many fish is improved by skinning the fillets.

Shown below is the most common way to fillet most fish, as it provides little wastage of fish meat, as well as eluding most bones. The only bones you need to contend with are those from the rib cage of the fish, and in most instances, can be easily removed prior to cooking.

Step 1

Hold the fish by the head and scrape away the scale with a knife as shown, working towards the tail.
Step 2

Before cooking a fish whole, it is important to remove the bitter-tasting gills. Lay the fish on its back and ease open the gill flaps.
Step 3

Push the fan of the gills out from between the gill flaps, sever and discard them.
Step 4

Trim off all the fins preferably with blunt-ended scissors.
Step 5

Split open the fish's belly and ease out the guts. Finally, rinse the fish thoroughly, inside and out, under cold running water.
Step 6

Starting just behind the gills, cut into the fish.
Step 7

Slice down the length of fish, severing the fillet at the tail.
Step 8

Cut the second fillet from the opposite side of the backbone. Skin the fillets as well.

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