As a fisherman, filleting fish is my most asked question and is I think a blocker to a lot of people buying fresh fish. With this in mind I will be doing a series of fish filleting guides during the summer. This is the first of the series to show how to fillet these rather fine lemon Sole, which I bought from the Old Watch House Lyme Regis.
First you need a good sharp filleting knife, one that has some bend in the blade. I don’t like the thin bendy blades that a lot of filleting knives have, I don’t think they are man enough when dealing with a nice big fish such as a bass or mullet. My I.O. Shen filleting knife is perfect, it has a good weight to it which makes it sit nicely in the hand and is devilishly sharp!
First wash your fish and pat dry with kitchen towel and place on a chopping board resting on a damp cloth to stop board slipping.
You then angle the point of the knife and stroke the blade over the bone to free the fillet away from the bone. top-tip Careful of fingers and you should always cut away from yourself, especially fingers!.
Then to skin the fillet: Place the fillet skin side down and trap the end using your finger, keeping your finger firmly on the fish, angle the knife down and slip the blade along the skin; This is where a true fillet knife earns its keep: It is far more flexible than most other blades, so you can actually maintain pressure on the knife as you cut off the skin — the knife will bend. It can take some effort, so keep a firm hold on that tail end!
Job Done and you can now perpare a wonderful dish like this Lemon Sole in Champagne Sauce (I used the Lemon Sole bones to make the fish stock). (top-tip – when the recipe says use button mushrooms don’t use open ones or the sauce will be a bit grey like this one!!) View the recipe here