How to Prepare a Whole Haddock for Cooking
Haddock is a favorite catch among local deep sea fishermen, and it’s not hard to understand why. Haddock rarely goes into waters below thirty feet, making it an exciting catch, and it is also really delicious to eat. A very diverse fish, haddock and can be served a number of ways because of its white, mildly flavored flesh. However, in order to cook a delicious meal with haddock, you need to make sure you start with a really clean, appetizing cut of meat. That means knowing how to properly fillet your fish once you’ve caught it.
Below is a quick tutorial of how to get a good-looking cut every time, ensuring that your next haddock catch will be well worth the fight, and the time it takes to cook it.
- One whole haddock, freshly caught
- Large, sharp, somewhat flexible knife
- Flat surface
To filet the haddock:
- Place the fish on one side. Starting at the head and working toward the tail, cut along the top of the fish, along the dorsal fins (there are three) in concentrated, sharp movements, staying on top of the bone. Note: the knife is simply parting the meat, not sawing into the bone.
- Once you have gone from top to tail, cut along the head toward the belly of the fish to allow the meat to part from the rest of the body. You will be able to open up the side of the fish, exposing its rib cage.
- Using the same sort of sharp, quick movement, cut along the filet directly above the rib cage. You now have a beautiful, boneless haddock filet!
- Repeat on opposite side of fish.
To remove skin:
- Place the filets skin down on a flat surface directly in front of you.
- Use the sharp part of your blade to start separating the skin from the meat. Make a small incision right about the skin. Doing so will allow you to roll the de-skinned fillet away from you on top of itself.
- Turn the knife parallel to yourself.
- Turn the blade over, so that the blunt part is now the part making contact with the fish.
- Hold down the skin, and begin to drag the knife along the fillet, using the flat table as guide.
- This gets easier with practice, and finding the right position for your hand and body makes all the difference when smoothly removing the skin.
- Once you have traveled the length of the fillet with your knife, you will have a perfectly deskinned and deboned fillet ready for cooking.