Break It Down

You don’t have to do it all your­self: Ask for your fish head-on, but scaled and gut­ted, with fins re­moved. At that point, all you need is a big cut­ting board, a few sharp knives, and these in­struc­tions

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Off with its head

Lay the cod on a large, wash­able cut­ting board, and use a heavy, sharp cleaver or chef’s knife to cut off the head, start­ing about 2 inches be­hind the gills. Ap­ply some force through the back­bone. Put the head in a bowl; cover and re­frig­er­ate.

Re­move the fil­let

Ro­tate the fish 180 de­grees. Turn the knife to­ward the head to re­move the fil­let in one piece. (As you cut, lift up the flap to see bet­ter.) Di­vide the “cap­tain’s cut”—the thicker twothirds—from the “mate’s cut,” the thin­ner end. Care­fully cut away the skin on the thicker fil­let.

Start fil­let­ing

Be­gin­ning a third of the way from the tail, with the spine of the fish fac­ing you, poke a fil­let knife through the spine side and un­der­neath the fil­let. Cut to­ward the tail, eas­ing the blade un­der the fil­let against the bones un­til you have cre­ated a flap.

Clean and re­peat

Flip the fish and re­peat on the sec­ond side. Tweeze out any pin bones from each fil­let. Hold the fil­lets up to a light to check for worms and re­move. (It’s a re­al­ity of na­ture that some cod will have them. They are com­pletely safe to eat, though, if you miss one.)

STEP 1 STEP 2 STEP 3 STEP 4

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