Fishmonger and supermarkets are always happy to prepare fish for you fresh for you to cook, but it’s always good to know methods that might come in use.


Cover the wooden board with a couple of sheets of newspaper. Scrape away the scales, while holding it by the tail from the top to the bottom.


Cleaning depends on the type of fish you have. It could be a round fish or a flatfish.

How to clean a round fish

With a sharp knife make a slit all the way down the belly of the fish and take inside out. Chop the head off, along with the gills. Wash the fish under cold water to remove all the blood.

How to clean a flat fish

Make a semi-circular slit just behind the head of the fish. This will open the cavity which contains that contains the insides of the fish. Scrape everything out and wash the fish to get rid of everything. You will also cut off the fins.


Skinning also of course varies from different from different types of fish

preparing fish

How to skin a round fish

A round is usually cooked with skin on, but some recipes require you to remove the skin. To do this you will have to loosen it just below the head with a sharp knife and gently draw it towards the tail, guiding it with the knife at an angle. You do this so that only the skin is removed and no flesh. Do the same on the other side.

How to Skin a flat fish

Lay the fish with the dark skin facing upwards and make a slit across the skin just above the tail. Loosen the skin by holding the tail, slipping your thumb in the skin and pull the skin towards the head in one motion. The white skin on the other side is usually left off, but can be taken off as well.



Filleting and Boning

Filleting fish into portions is great because both round and flat fish will provide you with a piece of fish without bones.

How to fillet a round fish

Cup the backbone below the head and above the tail. Cut the fish along the backbone and take the backbone out without breaking the fish.

How to Fillet a flat fish

Make the first cut along the backbone, working from the head towards the tail. Make a semi-circular  below the head and pull the skin back with a sharp knife at an angle, being careful only peeling the skin away. Make a cut a cut just above the tail to remove the fillet. Turn the fish around and remove the fillet in the same fashion.

Examples of flatfish

Sole, Turbot, Halibut, Plaice, Flounder

Examples of round fish

Trout, cod, haddock, sea bass, Pollack, hake, john dory

round fish

For the final task you might need a pair of tweezers, especially for fish to take small bones out of your fillet. If you try to take them out with your fingers your fillet will more than likely fall apart.

It’s not always easy the first time to fillet a fish so don’t become despondent if the fish falls to pieces the first time. You will probably need a little practice.

Basic Tasty Fish Recipes

Grilled Trout


  • 4 small trout
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 lemon, slice
  • Salt and pepper


  • Make slits in the fish and season
  • Stuff rosemary and lemon slices in them
  • Mix the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic together and pour over the fish
  • Place in a grill pan  for about 5 minutes on each side

Yellowtail coated in sesame seeds


  • Yellowtail
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • Set the oven to 180 degrees c
  • Season the fish
  • Rub the sesame sesame on the fish
  • Place it in a hot pan with a little olive oil for 2 minutes on each side and then in then in the oven for another 3 minutes so that the seeds don’t burn

Baked kingklip stuffed with almonds, lemon, breadcrumbs and parsley


  • 100g almonds
  • 2 lemonds
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp parsley


  • Set the oven to 180 degrees
  • Score  the fish and place the stuffing mixture inside and on top of the fish
  • Put on a baking tray and put in the oven for 10  minutes
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Hake with Basil Marinade


  • Basil
  • Olives
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Hake


  • Mash up the basil
  • Add the olive oil
  • Stone olives, break up and add to basil oil
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Pour this over the fish and bake in the oven at 180 for 10 minutes

 Calamari with bacon, cherry tomatoes and pesto


  • 100g Calamari
  • 2 rashers Bacon, cut into 4 pieces each
  • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp pesto
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil


  • Add some olive oil in a pan and fry the calamari for about 2 minutes
  • Take out, fry the back, add the bacon and the cherry tomatoes
  • Put the calamari back for 30 seconds
  • Add the pesto
  • Add salt and pepper

 Marinated Tuna


  • 100g tuna steak
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Lemon juice + zest
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • 1 tsp Honey
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chili, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tsp Coriander, chopped


  • Season the tuna with salt and pepper
  • Place the tuna in the marinade for 5 minutes
  • Sear it in a hot pan for just 1 minute on either side so that it’s still pink inside

Pan fried sole with red pepper sauce


  • 100g sole
  • Red peppers
  • Garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Red pepper sauce

  • 2 red peppers
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 sprig thyme, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


  • Blend ingredients together
  • Warm the sauce
  •  Season the fish
  • Add a little olive oil to a saucepan and fry the sole for about 2 minutes on each side
  • Add the garlic and lemon
  • Serve with the red pepper sauce