I remember the first time that I learned how to clean a fish. I was just a young boy. My uncle took my brothers and I swimming one hot summer day and we ended up fishing as well.
Of all the fish that we caught that day, we took just one fish back home with us. A striped bass. And I inherited the duty of cleaning it. It seemed like forever. What a mess. Scales and guts everywhere.
But I got it done and turned it over to my uncle to cook it. He simply coated the pieces of fillets with a flour mixture and pan fried them in butter. It was delicious! And it was certainly well worth the time and mess I made.
With more and more practice and experience I have gained over the years, I've managed to keep the mess and time down to a minimum. The following techniques provided here should help you in the same way as well.
Fresh King Salmon On IceThe best thing is to ensure that your catch remains as fresh as possible.
Keep the fish alive in the water on a stringer, in a basket, or iced down in a cooler. A dead fish, even in the water, spoils rapidly. Therefore, it's important to keep them cold. Wrapping them in a damp cloth or cheese cloth will also help. Live wells in boats are also another excellent way to keep fish alive.
It's best to clean a fish within the first hour or two, and cook it within 24 hours.
If you are not going to cook it right away, then freezing the fish should be done at once, but preferably after it has been prepared for cooking. Once you plan to use it for cooking, begin thawing the fish gradually in the refrigerator overnight or under cold running water. Do not refreeze the fish after it has been thawed.
Here are a couple quick tips before we begin to go over these easy methods and techniques about filleting fish and how to clean a fish.
You can use the flesh remains from the bones and the head as a stock for the base of soups, sauces, and chowders. So, consider saving them for later.
You may want to place newspapers under your work area to manage an easy clean up.
Use water sparingly on fish because it tends to firm up the fish.
Having the right tools for the job will definitely make any job a lot easier. You finish much quicker and with less of a mess.
You can still get by with what you have in your kitchen, but here are a couple things that will help you more efficiently clean a fish and fillet a fish.
Choose a fillet knife that fits the size of the fish. Short fillet knives tend to be firmer, as longer fillet knives are more flexible.
It's important to keep your blades sharp for superb quality cuts. You can use a honing stone or a sharpening steel to do so.
An electric fillet knife can also be used, however, I personally prefer to use a regular fillet knife. I find it easier to feel my way through the fish and its bone structure.This Shakespeare Six Piece Fish Fillet Knife Set has all the essentials that you need.
Remove the gills, guts and kidney as soon as possible because these spoil fast in a dead fish. This is not necessary if you are going to fillet the fish within an hour or two.
You can remove the gills by cutting the throat connection and along both sides so that the gills pull out easily. Insert the knife blade in the belly and run it up to the gills. Pull the guts and the gills out. Cut the membrane along the backbone. Scrape out the kidney and bloodline from underneath the membrane.
Turn the fish over and repeat for the second fillet. Then cut off the strips of fatty belly flesh. You can skin the fillet by cutting into the tail end flesh to the skin, and run your knife through while holding the skin firmly.
Panfish are generally too small to fillet for the less experienced, therefore it may be more ideal to pan dress them instead. Both methods are quite easy once you get the hang of practicing with a few sunfish.
To begin pan dressing, start by scaling the fish.
Then slice along both sides of the dorsal fin and pull out the fin. Cut along both sides of the anal fin and remove it by pulling it towards the tail. Cut off the head. Split the belly and remove the guts. The tail is quite tasty so it's up to you if you want to cut it off.
That's it. Simply rinse it quickly with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
Understanding how to clean a fish properly can be essential to your
health. It's important to practice and maintain these good habits to
prevent one from becoming ill. Once a fish dies, it immediately begins
to deteriorate rapidly, which is why it's best to keep the fish cold,
and even better, to clean a fish before icing it down. A clean fish is
a healthy fish is a good tasting fish is a healthy you. Cheers!
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Freshwater Fishing › How To Clean and Fillet Fish