Though you may have worked hard to land a catch, the job does not end when the fish is in the bucket. Before you can eat fish, you must clean and skin it. Some round fish can be cooked with skin on, but the black skin is usually removed from flat fish. Cleaning removes the entrails from the fish and is done prior to cooking. If entrails are left inside the fish, the taste and flavor will be affected and the eater could become ill. There are different methods for cleaning round and flat fish. Follow these steps to clean fish like a pro.
To clean round fish, you will need:
Step 1: Round fish including haddock, herring, and cod have guts in their belly. To clean them, use a sharp knife to cut along the abdomen into the flesh, beginning just behind the gills and cutting to just above the tail.
Step 2: Scrape out guts, wrap them in paper, and discard them.
Step 3: Rinse the fish under cold water to clean it and remove traces of blood.
Step 4: Rub rock salt in the stomach cavity to remove black skin.
Step 5: If the fish will be cooked whole, place the fish on the board and remove the gills, fins, and eyes or cut off the head below the gills, cutting through the backbone and removing the tail.
To clean flat fish, you will need:
• Sharp knife
• Spoon (optional)
Step 1: Flat fish like skate and sole have entrails in a cavity located behind the head. Make a semicircular cut under the gills or behind the head.
Step 2: Use the fingers to open this cavity and remove entrails with a spoon or the hands.
Step 3: Rinse the fish in cold running water.
Step 4: Lay the fish on a board and open its gills. Pull out the gills or sever them at the bone and cut them off.