Here we will discuss in detail about the complete process of filleting a catfish. The catfish’s skin is leather and if it is left on the meat then it becomes tough to eat. Either the catfish is bought from store or caught from sea, how to fillet catfish question is still arise in our mind but don’t worry about it you can easily clean and fillet it in your home using a few household tools. Once you clean or skin the catfish, you can cut it into small pieces for eating. In the following section, I have divided the complete procedure into three parts: skinning the catfish, removing the vital organs and cutting the fillets.
1. Skinning the Catfish (6 Steps)
Make hollow diagonal cuts behind the throat on each side of stomach: With the help of your fillet knife, apply a cut on the body of the fish behind their gills at 45” angle respecting the head. The cut should be between 3.2 mm to 6.4 mm deep otherwise it would be tough for you to separate the skin from the meat. To join the both incisions, cut around the lower of head. Make sure that your catfish fillet knife should be sharp enough because it has leather skin and dull knives can’t do good work on it.
Cut with the catfish’s fish from head toward its tail: Now cut the fish at the bottom of and drag down the fillet knife to the tail. Always apply shallow cuts to discover the skin and if we estimate the cut depth then it should not be more than 3.2 mm to 6.4 mm. Once you reach the upper fins move your fillet around it instead move to straight and complete your cut at tail ( toe ). The dorsal fins have a sharp barb at their end which can puncture your skin and species of catfish contain toxin and poison that may be harmful for the human body.
Slice the skin below the halfway of the catfish belly: Now again apply 3.2 mm to 6.4 mm big cuts with the stomach, with that cut you have started around the head. Move the knife to the tail and end where the fins start. Try to avoid deep cuts because it can damage the catfish internal organs.
Make a vertical chink on both sides of tail: Now you have to make a cut between where the scales end and fins start, again the cut should be 3.2 mm to 6.4 mm deep from spicula to belly and apply both cuts in such a way that they interact with each other.
Tie the tong to catfish skin under the throat: Trim a small piece of skin from the back with your finger before grasping it with the couple of tongs. Hold a big surface of skin so that you can easily use the whole area of pliers. Turning the plier is a good technique to get a good grip or lose more of the skin.
Trim the skin back toward the tail with continue motion: Press the catfish head downward with your hand and drag the skin away slowly from the head so that it saves from break or rip, once you drag the skin at the end of tail then it easily pulls off of the fish and reprocesses the same on the other side of the fish. It’s important for us to wear gloves when we hold the catfish head because it contains whiskers that can damage or hurt us.
2. Removing the Innards (4 Steps)
Turn the head Just below the grill: First of all turn the head back toward the spicula to catch the fish neck, now keep the fish in place and turn it. Once you twist it, jerk it away from the catfish to separate it completely. Some people do not feel comfortable turning the head from the body then they can use a butcher’s knife to split the head behind the throat.
Separate the toe and all fins: Now we have to remove all fins as well as the tail by using a pair of fillet knives and cut as near to the base of the wing as you can separate it completely. Apply about half inches deep cut around to remove the dorsal fins entirely, your plier will also help you to pull out the fins from the body.
Apply an incision in the fish’s belly and stick out the intestines with your fingers: With your fillet knife cut the catfish’s stomach and take your fingers inside the fish body that starts from the tail and scoop out all the intestines and internal organs. But if you don’t want to touch a catfish then you can use nitrile gloves. The most important thing is to place the fish organ in a separate bag and throw it outside of the kitchen so it does not create a stink.
Clean the catfish body with cold water: Take your fish’s meat under the tap to clean its blood or leftovers from inside the body. Once you have done this work, make your fish dry with some paper or towel and put it back on the cutting board. For washing it, use only cold water since the hot can generate a smell in fish.
3. Cutting a Fish (4 Steps)
Cut with the spine toward the ribs: Put your tip of fillet knife slowly under the spicula to separate the flesh from bones. Take mini strokes around the rib cage to keep away bones from meat. Do it on the whole length of the rib cage from head to tail. If catfish size is small, around 14 – 16 inches then consider cooking it whole.
Rotate the fillet knife in the belly and cut toward the tail: Grab the fish with your dominant hand and place the fillet knife inside the belly in between meat and spine, drag it down from head to tail until it does come out of the belly. Remember, don’t place your hand where you intend to touch the fish otherwise you will cut your fingers.
Cut the front of fish to remove the fillet: Remove the tail portion from the rib cage with your non-dominant hand and cut the lower part of the fish that is still connected with fillet and set it aside when you separate the first fillet.
Separate the fillet from the opposite: Turn the fish and repeat the same process on it. Make sure that your speed during work is steady, it will help you to remove the whole meat from the bones. Once the other fillet is removed, set it aside. When you completely clean your fish, throw their bones or stock them.
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