Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Deboning of Tilly the Tilapia

1 Fish - $4.19

My husband, my son, and our friend all left the house dark and early this morning at 5am to go fishing. They came home, and my son tells me that his dad caught a fish with his bare hands, and they all point me to the large white cooler full of ice and...

At this point, I am rather proud of my husband, and though I do not believe that he caught it with his bare hands, I am happy that he and only he has caught a lovely large fish. However. The bare hands...he bought it with his bare hands at the grocery store. Alas. A good trick anyhow, and I still have to cook it. So here goes. They had it trimmed, descaled, and gutted. The rest was up to me, and I was slightly terrified, but mostly confident. I have Cutco knives! I figured I could use the trimmer to separate the meat from the bones. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I surfed the web. I have never done this before, so I did some searching, and I found this website, which I liked very much. It sounded so simple...haha.

First, I cut off the head with my Petite Chef's knife and trimmer. I had to use both. I had a rough time of it, and Tilly didn't like it. Fish are infinitely more hard than they look. Gee. In the middle of this, my four year old son comes in and begs me not to kill the fish. The dead fish. I explained to him that it was already dead. He did not want me to behead her. I did anyway, and I sent him back outside to play.

I put the head on a plate in the kitchen, so I didn't have to look into her eyes. (gender? no idea) I thought I snapped a picture of her, but apparently I couldn't bring myself to do it.

So the next thing it says to do is to stick your big knife in there to make a cut before you use your super-sharp-bendy knife to cut.

Then you use super sharpy to cut your filet. I used my Trimmer here. Not so good.

Take 1...
So, then I grabbed my Cutco (I really believe in this brand, I sold them for a few months, and they are crazy amazing) Paring knife, as I thought that I'd done too much sawing motions in the first side, so I made my next filet with the paring knife, much sharper. This is what I got.

Take 2!
Much better. I still didn't get as much of the meat as I would have liked, but I did get a much nicer piece here. See, compare.

Then I had this monster piece left...with tons of meat on

I did the smart thing. I called my mom! She said to make some fish stock out of it! Brilliant! So, the rest of that meat that I can't get off (because I don't have a sharp enough knife, probably) goes to a stock (the head, too!).

water, fish

To the stock, I added a bunch of salt, some oregano, some parsley, pepper, and bay leaf.

It smelled awesome very quickly. I wish I could post the smell for you.

You can almost smell it, right?
my reward for some hard work!


  1. You are amazing!

  2. Looks pretty tasty. For future reference tell Lionel to get a fillet knife after he catches the fish at the "store." They are much easier to de-bone with one of these