1. Place the fish on a cutting board. Assuming you are right-handed, position the fish so that the head is on the left side and the tail on the right (If you are left-handed, do the opposite.) Use the back of the knife blade to scrape off scales. Remove the bony plates, or scutes, from the tail end. Do this by slipping the knife blade under the last scute, which will be on the tail, and cutting forward, toward the head. Keep the knife blade just under the scutes. Repeat this process for the other side of the fish.
2. Cut off the head. Do this by cutting through the fish on a diagonal line from immediately behind the pectoral fin (on the side of the fish) toward the back of the head.
3. Remove the organs. Begin by inserting the tip of the knife into the anal vent and cutting forward to open the belly of the fish. Pull out the organs. Rinse the fish well in water, taking care to remove the blood along the bottom side of the backbone. Use a paper towel to pat the fish dry.
4. Next, position the fish so that the tail is immediately in front of you and the head is facing away from you. Insert the knife in the belly (from the bottom of the fish), so that the tip goes all the way to the back bone and then cut along the bone toward the tail. Now rotate the fish 180°. At the tail end, insert the knife from the back of the fish, so that the tip reaches the back bone and then cut toward the head end of the fish. Next, back at the tail end, insert the knife in the cut you have already made and push it all the way through the fish. Hold the tail down with your free hand and then cut toward the head end to separate the fillet from the bone. At this point, the back bone will still be attached to the other side of the fish.
5. Flip the fish so that the tail end is immediately in front of you and the head end is facing away from you. Insert the knife, again so that the tip reaches the back bone and cut toward the tail end. Rotate the fish. Insert the knife, so that the tip reaches the back bone and then cut toward the head. Now, just as you did for the other side of the fish, insert the knife at the tail, push it all the way through and cut toward the head end to remove the meat from the back bone. You will now have two fillets separated from the bones.
6. Finish by removing the ribs. Do this by placing a fillet skin down on a cutting board, inserting your knife under the ribs and following their curvature to their tips. Repeat for the other fillet.

 

 

Recipe Developed by Yukiko Yajima

 

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