A lot of people don’t prepare the fish fillets because they are rejected by the process of cleaning and gutting it. It comes to most as some complicated procedure that only an expert can perform. It’s only true that the expert will do it much faster, and once you learn the steps, it will be pretty easy.
By the time you finish reading this guide, you will get to know how to fillet a trout the easy way.
Clean The Fish
Before getting to the part where we show you how to fillet a trout, we have to start from the beginning, just to make sure everything is done thoroughly. Wash your fish under the faucet with running water; you don’t have to go into the detail at this point, just make sure it’s clean of any dirt.
To make the process faster, some people just fill the bucket with water and clean all the fish at once, but we prefer to do it under the sink with running water, because if we was to use a bucket, only the first fish would be completely clean, while the others will be in its dirt.
Gut The Fish
Now that you gave the fish a small bath, it’s time to gut it and prepare it for filleting. You will need two knives to get everything done, one small and pointy knife for gutting and a long thin one for filleting. Make sure that both knives are very sharp; they should go through the fish like through the butter.
Grab a fish with your hand, and if it’s still slimy even after washing it, wipe it with a kitchen towel. The fish must not have the slime left because it can slip away from your hand, and you might hurt yourself with those sharp knives.
Take that small pointy knife and make the incision below the head. Don’t stab too deep and cut it along all the way up to the bottom fin. Now reach the contents of the abdomen with your hand and gently pull everything out.
The part at the head will require a bit of force to detach it, and you should see some blood being spilled. After you taken all the abdomen content out, clean the inside of the fish with running water.
Fillet The Fish
You might saw somewhere that you should remove the head in the gutting process, but that rule applies only when you want to cook it whole. When you want to make the fillets, you want to leave the head so you can hold on to it and make the job much easier.
Step 1: Make The First Incision
Put the fish on its side, so the belly faces away from you. Just above the head, make the first incision with the long and thin blade. Cut carefully and only so deep that you can reach the backbone. Once you made the incision, turn the knife at 90 degrees with the blade facing the tail.
Use your other hand to grab the fish by its head and cut it close to the backbone as much as you can, and take your time, don’t rush it.
Step 2: Make The First Fillet
After you cut the halfway through, grab the fillet with the hand you used to hold the head and carry on with cutting until you reach the tail. Proceed to cut it off, and you have your first fillet! There will probably be some ribs still attached, but leave it like that, we will get to that part later.
Step 3: Make The Second Fillet
After you removed you first fillet, turn the fish around positioning it in the same manner as before, if you think it will be easier to cut in the same direction, then face the fish with the belly pointing towards you. Using the same technique, make the incision and cut close to the ribs until you completely remove the second fillet.
Step 4: Tidy Up The Fillets
Now that you are done with both fillets, it’s time for some cosmetics. Wash away all bloody material the fillets might have. While washing if you can take away some ribs that are left with your hand easily, then do so, the rest you can get out with a knife.
Step 5: Trim Away The Ribs
By using the same knife you used for making the fillets, trim away the ribs. Gently put the knife under the ribs and take them away without removing the flesh.
Now the only thing left is the pin bones, and you can remove them if you like, but they are quite easy to remove once the flesh is cooked, so you don’t really have to bother with them. If you want to remove them, you can do so by grabbing them with tweezers and pulling them out.
Step 6: Final Touches
The last thing left to do is to trim away any fins and to shape up the edges. After that is done, the fillets are ready for cooking! If you want to smoke them, make sure you removed the pin bones, if not, they are ready for your recipe even with them attached.
We hope that this little guide was of help to you in your learning how to fillet a trout. Now you see that it’s not that difficult, and it can be done quite easy when you know the steps to follow. Now find some tasty and interesting recipe to match your new skills and enjoy the meal!