Knowing how to prepare a fresh fish can really open up your options at the supermarket! The freshest fish are usually the ones that haven't already been filleted or cut, so if you're willing to do it yourself, you'll be eating better already.  While the prospect of cleaning a scaly, bony fish might seem daunting to a first-timer, it's ultimately not that difficult, and a worthy investment if you enjoy a good cut of fish.

Materials Needed A very sharp knife, scissors, and a cutting board

Cleaning the Fish Wash the fish thoroughly and lay it flat on a cutting board. If you are using a fish with plated scales, you will need to remove them.  To do this, hold the fish by the tail and scrape away from you with a very sharp knife. Repeat this process for both sides of the fish. Give the fish another rinse, and move it back to the cutting board. With scissors, cut off the fins and trim the tail.

Press your hand against the top side of the fish, and slit the fish's belly open from its base to its head with your sharp knife, not cutting deeply enough to damage its innards (the viscera inside of a fish contain acids that can ruin the fish's flavor).  Reach into the belly and gently pull out its insides.  Run water through the fish, after you're done, to clean it out.

If you prefer headless fish, simply cut it off.

De-boning the Fish This is the method you use to de-bone a fish if you are interested in stuffing it:

  1. Open up the fish like a book. Starting at one end of the fish, insert your knife between the rib bones and the flesh of the fish and loosen it away from the flesh with a gentle sawing motion across the whole rib section. Do this for both sides.
  2. Slide your knife under the backbone and cut it gently away, with the rib bones attached. You can use scissors for this as well.
  3. If you are freezing the fish, you should keep the skin on to help it retain its moisture. If not, a fresh fish should usually be consumed within one day.  To skin the fish, you will need to cut it in half length wise and then, using a very sharp knife, loosen the flesh away from the skin with a gentle sawing motion.

  Photo Credits: My Brooklyn Kitchen, Gourmet, Chow, Home and Garden Ideas

How to Peel Ginger (Hint: Don'T) Recipe
14 Must-Make Cauliflower Recipes Recipe
Broccoli and Cauliflower Recipes Even Kids Will Love Recipe
Hearty, Chunky Soups for a Cold Day Recipe
Healthy, Easy New Ways to Enjoy Salmon Recipe
10 Tasty Ways to Make Canned Tuna Gourmet Recipe
What'S in Season: Fall Vegetables You Can'T Miss Recipe
Crispy, Creamy, and Perfectly Cheesy Gourmet Gratins Recipe
10 Creative New Ways to Cook Salmon Recipe
Cozy Into Fall with Savory Seasonal Soups Recipe
Creamy, Comforting Macaroni and Cheese Recipes Recipe
12 Terrific New Takes on JalapeñO Poppers Recipe
Quick and Easy 5 Ingredient Pastas Recipe
Edible Flowers From the Garden of Eat'N Recipe
Snack Healthy with Homemade Hummus Recipe
Every Dish Is Made Better with Beer Recipe
10 Exceptional Coffee Drinks to Make at Home Recipe
10 Handy Meals Made in a Muffin Tin Recipe
Vegan Appetizers Anyone Will Love Recipe
Simple, Hearty Mexican Dishes for a Crowd Recipe
10 Succulent Salmon Dishes for Healthier Eating Recipe
Appetizer Ideas for the Big Game Recipe
Italian Dishes Minus the Indulgence Recipe
Cozy Chili Recipes and Creative Ways to Enjoy Them Recipe
Fantastic, Flavorful 5-Ingredient Chicken Dinners Recipe
10 Savory Curries You Can Make in a Hurry Recipe
Top 10 Christmas Cookies of the Season Recipe
5 Creative Cinco De Mayo Recipes to Get the Fiesta Started! Recipe
Fun Football Shaped Bites for the Super Bowl Recipe
The Ultimate Super Bowl Appetizer: 5-Layer Football Field Dip Recipe
Complete Your Meal with a Perfect Wine Pairing Recipe
Pass the Chickpeas! 10 Healthy Garbanzo Bean Recipes Recipe
Food Pairings with Sean McKenzie and Dave Matthews Recipe
Top 10 Tips for Winning Dinners! Recipe
From Apples to Kale to Salmon, How to Keep What You Love Fresh Recipe
Cooking with Silk® Recipe