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How to Eat a Whole Fish: The Dummy’s Guide to Good Manners

There are things we love but never order because, TBH, we don’t know how to eat them. Example number one: a whole fish. We love fish: grilled, seared, baked. Fish is light and mild but pairs so well with flavors we crave and associate with summer (citrus, herbs, yes, please!). However, when it’s listed on a menu as “served whole” it’s a hard pass. We wouldn’t know how to carve into it! Well, no more. We’re learning how to eat a whole fish so we can eat what we want without shame. Here goes.

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What You’ll Want

-       An extra plate

-       A fork, knife, and spoon

What to Do

1.     When the plate hits the table, make three slits through the skin: above the tail (horizontally, like you’re going to cut the tail off), below the head and angled down do the collar bone, and a long one along the length of the back.

2.     Go ahead and scape off the top skin and any tiny bones you see. You can put that on the extra plate.

3.     Cut the back bone by cutting a wider slit along the length of the back. You should be able to push the fillet off the bone and onto your plate and see the whole backbone when you’re done.

4.     Grab the tail and gently but firmly pull it up and toward the head, you should be able to lift off the whole skeleton and head at once, leaving behind the bottom fillet. Put this on the extra plate.

5.     Enjoy your fillets! (There is delicious fish on the head but don’t worry too much about this on your first go-around.) 

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