There are many reasons why you should know how to fillet your own fish:
- Build life skills for independent living. It is always good to know that you can independently fillet your own fish without relying on the fishmonger!
- Reduce wastage. By buying a whole fish, you get to keep the bones, skin and other parts to make delicious fish stock.
- Gauge the freshness of a fish. First, eyes should be shiny and clear. Next, look at the gills – they should be a rich red. If the fish is old, they will turn the colour of faded brick. If the fishmonger allows, press the meat with your finger. It should be resilient enough that your indentation disappears.
Here, we show a step-by-step guide on how to fillet a mackerel. If this is your first time filleting a fish, mackerel is a good fish to start with as it is relatively firm and easier to handle than a more delicate, flaky fish.
Step one: Hold the fish down firmly, and cut a slit along the backbone in a straight, smooth motion.
Step three: Cut another slit down along the other side of the fish.
Step four: Place the knife where the tail fin joins the body, and make a straight cut down through the flesh and bone.
Step five: Place the knife behind the pectoral fin, and make a straight cut down through the flesh and bone.
Step six: Remove the skin. Placing the fish down on the chopping board with the fillet skin-side down, angle the knife at the tail end between the skin and the flesh. Run the knife slowly along the fillet with the knife blade at an angle, firmly gripping the skin as you cut.
And there you have it! Best thing is, you get to use every single last inch of the whole fish.