Unless you're an angler, why would you fillet your own fish? Two reasons: better quality, lower price. Buying whole is the
best way to determine freshness and get the most from your purchase (the bones and scraps make great fish stock). Buy a fish
with firm flesh that springs back when pressed; eyes should be shiny and clear; and it should smell like the ocean, not fish.
Ask the fishmonger to scale and gut the fish, then use these techniques to fillet any kind of round fish, such as striped
bass, shown here.
Kitchen Tip: Latex gloves will keep your hands from smelling fishy.
Place chef's knife behind the pectoral fin; make a diagonal downward cut through bone. Repeat on opposite side; discard head.
Place chef's knife where the tail fin joins the body, and make a straight cut down through the flesh and bone; discard fin.
Starting at head end, run a fillet knife along the backbone in a smooth motion. (This may take more than one cut.) Cut around the rib cage to separate the fillet.
Cut away the thin belly portion of the fillet. While fine to eat, it will cook quicker than the rest of the fillet and is higher in fat. It can also be reserved for making stock.