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How to Skin a Fish with Scales

Learn how to skin a fish with scales in this Howcast food video with Chef Brendan McDermott.


So what we're going to do today is we're going to skin the fish. Now whether it's been scaled or not, it really doesn't matter. It's pretty much the same process. If you're not going to eat the skin, you really don't have to go through the scaling process. It helps sometimes when you're trying to break down the fish or trying to fillet it. But, again, that's up to you. If you are going to eat the skin, then you definitely want to scale it and, you know, keep it on. But either way, here's what you can do. What you want to do is you want to bring the fish all the way down close to the edge of the table or to the edge of the cutting board. What we want to do is we want to be able to release all of the meat, but take the skin off and not lose a lot of the actual product. What you can do is you can take your boning knife whether fillet, boning, flexi, or just regular, but what you really want is something that's thin, light, and got a little bit of bounce to it. You can actually take your knife, drop it right in at about a 45 degree angle to the tail, and just create little bit of a hook. I'm not going to go through the skin. I just want to cut into that meat a little bit. So I've created a handle, something I can actually pick up with. Now what I can do is I can take the knife, turn that 45 degrees the other direction, and again just make a quick little incision, just two or three cuts. Drop that knife to about 15, 20 degrees, and we're going to keep the knife flush with the board. We want the blade to be kind of running along the skin, not pushing down too hard. Just try and hold it still. The trick here is to actually take your guide hand, the one that's holding the food, and actually just get onto that little handle you've created. Now all you have to do is slide the fish up and down the knife, gently, just back and forth while pulling to the side. While doing this, you'll start seeing the fish skin release from the meat. You can get a better grip, and continue... You should be able to pull the skin right off.

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