Extra Helpings: How to Skin a Fish Fillet


Erica asks: My partner HATES fish skin. Pre-skinned fish is expensive, unless it’s tasteless tilapia (bleh). She won’t eat a piece of fish with the skin on it so how do I remove the skin before cooking without removing half the fish?

Abdul Ade Olurotimi

Abdul Ade Olurotimi
Fish Guru

Hmmm. Sounds like she doesn’t even want the fish cooked with the skin on… she’s hardcore anti-skin. Is it a texture thing, mouth feel or a visual thing? Okay, I’ll quit the analysis.

But really, leaving the skin on holds the fish fillet together during cooking. The skin also adds a bit of flavor and can be easily removed after cooking.

But back to your question…

Skinning fish is a lot easier than you think (really!), especially if you have a sharp knife. But, like most things in life, it takes practice.
1. Make a small cut just above the tail through the meat, but not through the skin so you have a little piece of separated skin and meat.
2. Hold on TIGHT to that little piece of meatless skin (it is mucho slippery). Slip your knife between the meat and skin at a slight upward angle to the cutting board, cutting as close to the skin as you are able. Don’t panic. You can do this. It’s not a race. Check the skin-meat ratio as you go and adjust your grip on the skin accordingly.
3. Work your knife slowly down the fillet. You may have to keep adjusting your grip on the skin as you go. There! All done!

Aw heck. Here’s a video of my good friend (and fishmonger) Abdul Olurotimi doing the job. Okay, he’s a professional… but PLEASE TRY THIS AT HOME!

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posted under Extra Helpings

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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: mamashighstrung@gmail.com