How to Fillet a Round Fish

There are a variety of ways to fillet a round fish, and here is a technique which is easiest for beginners. Ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish. It will be easier to keep it clean and neat during filleting.

fillet a round fish

Types of round fish

Round fish are, you can guess, round in the centre of their body and this then tapers to a tail. Varieties of round fish include cod, seabass, whiting, pollack, mackerel, red mullet, gurnard, bream, and trout. Read more

Prepare the equipment

  • 1 big cutting board 
  • 1 filleting knife or another knife with a flexible blade
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 plate or tray for the fillets
  • 1 bowl for the carcass

Prepare a big enough cutting board so that it holds one whole fish. Your knife should be sharp and have a long, flexible blade that will not damage the fish and will cut the fillets as neatly as possible. The tray and bowl can be replaced by a large plate and is required to keep the fillets separate from the fish bones.

Step by step instructions to fillet a round fish

Step 1

  • Use scissors to cut off the fins and tail. 
  • Descale the fish with a fish scaler or use the back of a kitchen knife.
  • Cut the belly and remove the guts.

Step 2

  • Make a cut behind the gills and on the side fin, then cut straight down halfway through the fish to the backbone. 
  • Finish removing the fillet by cutting through the rib bones. As you cut, apply a fair pressure on the knife to follow the bones.

Step 3

  • Repeat all steps on the other side.
  • Remove the rib bones and belly flap.
  • Remove the skin

Step 4

  • Check that there are no bones remaining. Some fish have little bones that run along the midline of the fillet that you can feel with your fingertips.  

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