Tips on Filleting a Whole Salmon

King Salmon

Courtesy of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

You'll Need: 
A sharp, 8- to 10-inch flexible knife
A clean towel
A dry cutting board
Tweezers or needle-nose pliers
A whole wild salmon, cleaned

 

Steps:
1. Remove the dorsal (top) fin.

2. Come behind the gill-plate at a 35- to 40-degree angle and cut half the width of the fish. Flip the salmon over and repeat, cutting straight through to remove the head.

3. Open the fish to locate the backbone. Using the bone as a guide, run your knife (at about a 10-degree angle) along the spine, holding the fish down with a towel to keep it from slipping. This will remove one side of the meat. Repeat this procedure on the other side to give you two large fillets.

4. Remove any extra skin, fat, or bones from fillets.

5. For skin-on fillets, cut the fish in 3- to 4-inch pieces (or desired width). Leaving the skin on preserves flavor and moisture, while also acting a cushion to protect the fish from burning.

6. To remove the skin before cutting into serving pieces, begin at the tail and, while holding taut, run your knife just above the skin.

7. To remove the rib bones, first locate them by using your finger to feel or by scraping the back of your knife over the fish. Using needle-nose pliers or a pair of tweezers, pull the bones out, one at a time.

8. Your salmon is now ready for your favorite recipe or for freezing.

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