Photo by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

Yes, You Can Fillet a Whole Fish Like a Chef — Here's How

Summer is the season for seafood. Whether you’re dreaming of sushi like Jiro or picturing the perfect seafood cookout, learning how to properly fillet a fish is essential. But we get why you’ve been putting it off: it’s intimidating. That’s why ICE and Wüsthof teamed up to roll out a new video demonstrating the correct technique for breaking down a whole fish.

Watch as Chef Sabrina Sexton, ICE’s Culinary Arts program director, uses a range of Wüsthof blades to fillet a beautiful red snapper. Check out our tips below, outlining the technique, then head to your local fishmonger and make your seafood dreams a reality.

Chef Sabrina’s Guide to Filleting:

  1. Using kitchen shears, snip off the dorsal and pectoral fins (you can see where these fins are located in the video), to prevent them from sticking to your hands (optional).
  2. Using a fish fillet knife, start by making a 45-degree angle cut behind the skull down to the spine.
  3. Next, make a shallow cut along the dorsal fin from head to tail.
  4. Gliding your knife over the bones, trace a shallow cut along the belly from tail to head.
  5. To loosen the fillet, insert your fillet knife and slice towards the tail.
  6. Then, using your chef’s knife, remove the fillet by slicing over the surface of the spine from tail to head. While doing this, you will cut through a few small bones — don’t worry, that’s normal.
  7. Trim away the small row of belly bones. Then use your fingertips to feel for any pin bones and carefully remove them using tweezers. Slice the fillet of fish into portions of your choosing.

Ready to take your culinary skills to the next level? Click here for more information on ICE’s career programs.

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