How to fillet round fish

Got yourself some lovely fresh fish, but not sure how to prepare it?

Follow our step-by-step photos to get the best results.

How to fillet round fish

What is a round fish?

These fish are cylindrical in shape, with a body that tapers off towards the tail. Common examples you’re likely to find in a UK fishmonger are mackerel, pollock, trout, cod, haddock and bream – and even little anchovies.

How to prepare round fish

Hold the fish on the work surface with one hand. With a sharp knife in the other, make an incision just behind the fin on one side, cutting on an angle towards the head, as far as the backbone.

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Turn the knife the other way and work the blade gently down the length of the fish, keeping the blade of the knife flush against the backbone – always try to work the blade away from your fingers.

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Remove the fillet, then remove and discard the innards (if the fish hasn’t already been gutted).

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Turn the fish over and repeat the process on the other side, slicing behind the fin towards the head until you reach the backbone.

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Now slice down the length of the fish, again with the knife close to the backbone.

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You should have two equal-size fillets.

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Make a small V-shaped incision along the centre of each fillet. Run your fingers over the fillets to locate any stray bones, then pull them out with fingers, tweezers or clean pliers.

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Trim off and discard the thin belly parts of the fillets to neaten them up and remove any discoloured or ragged bits of flesh. You’re ready to cook your fish.

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Now, put the theory to the test!

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