Filleting Panfish

KazCrappieLRThere’s more than one way to skin a fish, but this is the quick and easy method we have been using for years.  From small bluegill that fit in the palm of your hand (perfect for a “fish-nugget”) to a 15″ crappie headed to the grill. No matter what the size of the fish, every bite of meat is recovered and ready to cook.
1.  Insert sharp knife tip just under the skin, near the spine, and slide it from head to tail, or vise-versa.  Repeat on the other side, keeping knife close to the dorsal fin.
PanfishFillet2LR2.  Make a crescent shaped cut from the belly, under the pectoral fin, behind the gill plate, ending behind the head joining with your first cut.
PanfishFillet3LR3.  With the fish on it’s side cut flesh away from the skeleton.  Let the bones guide your knife, do not cut through any bones.
PanfishFillet4LR4.  Where the spine meets the ribs, continue filleting the meat off the bone all the way to the belly.
PanfishFillet5LR5.  Continue to lift and fillet all the way to the base of the tail.
PanfishFillet6LR6.  For a skin-free piece of meat, leave skin attached to fish at the base of the tail.  Flip fillet over, skin-side down and remove meat from the skin.
Excerpt from my cooking column in Game & Fish Magazine, June 2014
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