Skinning fish

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When you buy “wet” fish fillets they may come with the skin still attached. Removing the skin is not usually difficult, but to get a clean result without waste it is best to use this well-tried technique.

Preparation

  • You will need a clean chopping board or worksurface. A chopping board is best as it makes it easier to hold the knife at the correct angle without rubbing your fingers on the surface.
  • You will need a sharp knife. A large knife is not necesary so long as the blade is long enough to comfortably span the width of the fillet.

Technique


Watch the video

Watch the video on Youtube

The short video shows how to fillet a couple of pieces of fish with different shapes.

  • Place the fillet on the board with the skin down.
  • Select a start point. For a triangular fillet, it is usually easiest to start at the tail end. Otherwise start at a corner where there is a decent thickness of flesh.
  • Make sure the fillet is pressed down all over onto the board so the skin is not wrinkled or turned up at the edge.
  • If you are starting at the tail end, hold down the very end of the tail and gently cut through the flesh to reach the skin. Otherwise use a fingernail to hold down the skin at the start point and carefully slide the kife between the flesh and skin of the fish.
  • Turning the knife to a very shallow angle, carefully work the knife under the flesh, keeping the skin taught and the blade angled slightly downwards.
  • Make sure the fillet is frequently pressed down and stretched out so the skin remains firmly against the board – if the skin wrinkles it is likely to be cut.
  • A sharp knife will easily slide, perhaps with a gentle sawing action, across the skin without cutting into it or the flesh.
  • The technique depends on having a shallow angle so that the blade stays under the flesh without cutting down into the skin.
  • There’s usually no need to fold back the flesh as it separates, but you may need to push fingers under the flesh to maintain a strong hold on the separated skin near the cutting edge as it advances.


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