Buying a whole salmon is a really practical way of feeding a crowd. You can also cut it into steaks, put it in your fridge, put it in your freezer. It's also pretty economical. So when you're buying your fish you need to buy a nice-sized fish, a good shiny exterior, nice bright eyes. And then all you need is a sharp knife, a sharp flexible knife like that and a clean pair of kitchen pliers and that'll take out any bones we can't get at this stage and that's it.
Pick up your knife, get hold of the fin there and just behind the gill, just cut up at an angle to the head and then when you feel the backbone, just stop. So then twist the knife back towards yourself and then big sweeping motions, you'll hear bones crack as you go through with the knife. As long as you can feel the bones against the knife then you're doing a good job.
Right and on with the next fillet. Flip the fish over, if you've got a nice board which is a bit raised then just put the head over the edge of the board like so, and then just repeat everything. So in with the knife behind the gills, down to the spine, through the top of the belly there, turn it back on yourself and then follow the knife all the way down.
So that's the fillets off and now we can clear down and tidy those up. Right, so let's trim our fillets. So take a big cook's knife and just get it off. A lot of the presentation in fish is all about the trimming. Taking the belly flap off here, all the way down, that's really good for fish cakes so freeze that. And then go down the other side, tidy up the bit of skin.
OK, now we're going to move the fish just a little bit more towards you because we're now going to concentrate on the bones at the top here. Just cut through like so. I'm just going to go back here and trim off this dark belly skin.
OK so now it's time to pin bone it and the best way to do that is to use your kitchen pliers. It's also handy to have a little pot of water next to you otherwise the bones are quite tricky to get off the pliers.
Then lastly just run your fingers along the spine and if there's any little bones sticking out just pick them out. So that's it, now it's ready to be cut into steaks or you can roast it whole which is a really nice crowd-pleasing dish. Remember to go and wash your hands though before you do anything else but, essentially, that is how you fillet a salmon.