A Quick and Easy Way to Fillet Salmon

By:  Allie Moxley

Salmon fillets are sections of salmon that have been separated from the ribs and the backbone, giving you two good portions of boneless meat. Fillets make for a great presentation at a dinner party and they are easy to eat as all the skin and bones have been removed. Fillets are good for recipes involving steaming, poaching, curing and smoking, and pan-frying.

When learning how to fillet a whole salmon, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have a very sharp fillet knife, the sharper the better. Also make sure you have a flat, hard surface to work on. Begin by placing the fish on your cutting board in a position comfortable for you. Make the first incision behind the gill, go straight down and continue to the backbone, but do not cut through it. This cut should have freed the meat completely, so that you can life it up. Turn the blade and work towards the tail, using the backbone as your guide. Make sure the knife is turned up at a slight angle to clean the meat from the fish. Once you reach the tail, angle the knife up through the skin. You have just completed the first fillet.

The next step in learning how to fillet a whole salmon is to flip the remaining fish over and begin as before. Cut down at the gill, perpendicular to the back bone but not through it. Flip the knife through toward the tail and keep cutting as before. Finish the fillet, by angling the knife up.

Once the fillets have been cut, you need to remove the ribs. Slide the knife under the ribs and hold it at a slight angle and follow through the rib line, cutting to the end of the ribs; end by cutting through the belly to completely remove the ribs.

The final step in learning how to fillet a whole salmon is to trim away the fins and any other undesired pieces. Slide the knife behind the skin and gently slice through to remove these parts. Then remove the pinbones, which can simply be pulled out. From there, you can enjoy your fillets using your favorite recipe.

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