How-To: Fillet a Fish

Nobody wants bones with their entrée, so learning how to fillet a fish is crucial to the preparation process.

What You’ll Need

A large, sharp knife and a clean work station.

Step One (small fish)

If you’ve got a small fish (five pounds or less), the first step is to remove the head just behind the gills.

Step One (bigger fish)

If you’re working with a bigger fish, the process is a bit different. Instead of cutting the head off, make a cut just behind the gills that sinks halfway into the fish.

Step Two

Lay the fish flat on a surface, hold it by the tail and cut straight down the middle from tail to tip, keeping your knife close to but not into the backbone.

Step Three

If you want to take the skin off before cooking, just flip the meat over so that the skin side is down, hold the tail again and cut as close to the skin as you can. Don’t worry if you don’t get all of the meat the first time—this stuff takes practice.

Step Four

There might be a few bones left when you’re done, but stroking your knife along the meat will reveal where the bones are so that you can easily remove them.

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