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How do you filet a roasted whole fish?

Can you point me towards any videos or instructions with photos? I want to try roasting a whole fish in a salt crust (inspired by several of the delicious looking recipes on this site) but am intimidated by the idea of filleting the fish in front of my guests.

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spuntino added about 3 years ago

http://video.nytimes.com...

Sit2
Sam1148 added about 3 years ago

With a knife make two cuts, one by the tail section..one by the head section.
With a broad bladed knife. Go under the tails section..follow the bones..just scraping them with the knife. Lift off that section..turn it over and repeat. Save the bones.

Optional:
Use scissors to cut off the fins.
Heat up some oil in a pot and dust corn starch on the bones and fins...use a paper bag. And the skin if you've removed it. Deep fry those to very crispy.

amysarah added about 3 years ago

Th best advice in the Melissa Clark video is not to stress about doing it perfectly - I was intimidated by whole fish for years, then finally realized my guests knew I wasn't running Le Bernardin. And even though roasting them is a cinch, serving a whole fish looks impressive - regardless of surgically precise fillet technique.

One thing about the video: Melissa uses individual-sized (1-1.5 lb.) fish with fairly thin sides, so she removes the top fillet in small chunks/flakes; it's actually easier to fillet 'intact' pieces with a bigger, thicker fish, e.g., salmon, that serves several people. Starting at tail or head, do shallow vertical cuts (just to the bone) in more or less 'portion' sizes, then run a very sharp knife underneath each, along bone - you can then lift a 'whole' section onto the plate. But it also depends on the fish's flakiness, how long you've roasted it, etc....in other words, if it breaks into smaller pieces upon lift-off....c'est la vie. Your guests will love it anyway.

Junechamp

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added about 3 years ago

I find it helps to run your knife along the packbone after you do the head and tail cuts -- before running the knife between the skeleton and the meat.

And DO use a boning knife. If you don't have one, it's a great investment.

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Ms. T added about 3 years ago

Thanks all for the great tips, and the video. And the very good advice to not stress about it. I'll be making this for my cooking club--six woman who I've been cooking and laughing with for 10 years, so it will be a fun team sport and it's definitely the type of crowd that wouldn't mind just digging into the whole fish with their forks, or even fingers ;) Can't wait to try this!

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