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How to Pick Fresh Flounder & Pull Out Its Guts

Learn how to pull the guts out of flounder in the first video of a 4-part Howcast series with Chef Brendan McDermott.


So today we're going to break down a flounder. I'm just going to talk quickly about what to look for on the fish, then we're actually going to go over fileting it, taking it apart, and then we'll go over skinning.

So what you really need to know about when looking for a fish is, one, is it fresh? So you can always feel it and make sure that it's not too slimy. If there's a little bit it's OK, you just don't want goo. You can always smell it and it should smell a little bit more like the ocean, and not low tide. Very big difference. Some people like to look for the eyes or look at the gills. Gills should have some color to them, so a little bit of red, or pinkish to them, sometimes a little orange. The eyes should be clear, but really all of this together is what you're really looking for when trying to get a fish. Any one by themselves can be a little misleading, so it's just good to know what you're dealing with.

The other thing that you're going to need for breaking down a fish is a nice sharp boning knife or filet knife. You're dealing with something that's very light, very thin, small and even flexible. And that flexibility is going to give you the lead way to be able to move around bones and get the meat off that you need. If you use something that's too wide or stiff, you're really going to have something that's going to waste meat and really hard to angle around.

One of the things that we want to do to start off here is to actually gut the fish. So you can make a little incision along the neck. Make sure that you don't go too far in because you really don't want to cut any of the stomach or anything. You don't want it to leak.

Now when dealing with something like a flounder, you might not necessarily have to do this, but it's good to practice just to get some of that stuff out of there. Make a little incision and pull a lot of the guts out. Not for the squeamish, but lots of fun. That was a healthy one. Go in there. Got to cut that sack out. That can go.

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