Step by step

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - Masterclass -

1 For the first cuts, place the fish with the belly fac­ing you and the head to the left (or the right if you are left-handed). Pull the pelvic (base) fin out­wards and make a cut be­hind the fins to sep­a­rate them from the fil­let, then cut around be­hind the head un­til you hit bone.

2 Ro­tate the fish so the belly is fac­ing away from you, then, start­ing from the cut at the top of the head, cut along the back­bone from head to tail, cut­ting smoothly along the length of the fil­let. An­gling your knife to­wards the bones, keep run­ning your knife along where the flesh meets the bones to open out the fil­let un­til you feel your knife reach the raised spine in the mid­dle.

3 Half­way along the fish, hold the knife flat against the back­bone and push the point through to the other side of the fil­let. With the knife pro­trud­ing out the other side and press­ing against the spine, cut all the way to the tail to sep­a­rate the tail sec­tion. Turn the fish so the belly faces you, and lift the tail sec­tion to ex­pose the ribs. Snip through the ribs with scis­sors up to the first cut. You can now re­move the first fil­let.

4 Flip the fish so the belly faces away from you and the head points left. Hang the head off the edge of the board so the fish lies flat; this way you’ll be able to cut evenly and pre­serve more flesh. Re­peat the first cut, then cut along the back to open out the fil­let as be­fore (the tech­nique here is sim­i­lar to the first side, ex­cept re­versed). Sep­a­rate the tail end, then use scis­sors to cut through the ribs and re­move the se­cond fil­let.

5 To clean the fil­lets, place the tip of a small knife un­der the rib bones and, guid­ing the knife by press­ing it against the ribs, cut to­wards the pin bones, then through them to free the ribs. Turn the knife the other way and, us­ing the bones as a guide, cut up and against the ribs, gen­tly peel­ing away and slic­ing.

6 Re­move the pin bones, then trim the edges of the fil­lets. Your fish is ready to rock. Re­frig­er­ate skin-side up topped with a piece of Go Be­tween and use it within two days.

Clean­ing the fish You can get your fish­mon­ger to scale and gut the fish for you be­fore you do your fil­let­ing, but do­ing it your­self isn’t hard. Josh Niland cuts the scales off with a knife, but scrap­ing them off with a spoon also works well; do it in a plas­tic bag to keep the mess un­der con­trol, then wipe the fish with pa­per towel. To gut the fish, in­sert a knife 1.5cm into the anal vent and cut along the belly to the mouth. Open the cheeks to ex­pose the gills, then cut the gill joint with scis­sors and cut the gills free from the head. Us­ing pa­per towel, hold the gills tight and pull them to­wards the tail to re­move the in­nards.

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