Black Gill

Voyatzis Fishing Company
West Caught Fish Company
Giacomo D’Amato Seafood


If you didn’t get your fish filleted at the market, here is a 9-step process explaining how and what you will need to do. While some prefer to first scale the fish, others leave the scales on and remove them when filleting.

1. Scale the fish

If you do not own a scaler, the easiest tool to scale a fish is a butter knife. Start scaling your fish by holding it firmly with one hand and scraping from tail to head with the knife.

2. Scale up to the edges

Make sure you get the scales on the top of the fish and near the fins — and don’t forget the tail.

3. Scale any forgotten areas

Don’t forget the collar of the fish, it is often the tastiest part.

4. Starting the cut

Start the gutting process by slipping the tip of your fillet knife into the vent and slicing upwards — away from the fish, and away from the guts — toward the head.

5. Complete the cut

Complete the cut by forcing the knife through the bony portion that lies between the pelvic fins (the ones that are paired up on the belly of the fish) and on up to the base of the lower jaw.

6. Removing the guts

Remove the guts by reaching in and grabbing them right at the base of the head, where you will feel everything connect. Pinch that spot and pull the whole lot out. On large fish you will have to cut this with your knife.

7. A gutted fish

At this point, scrape out the liver which is attached to the backbone of the fish, and cut out what remains of the swim bladder, which is a whitish sac that also attaches itself to the cavity.

8. Snipping the gills

The gills will impart a bitter flavor to your fish, and will make it spoil faster, so they need to go. You can most easily do this by cutting them where they attach at either end of the arc that they form. Use kitchen shears or use your knife. On small fish, you can just rip them out.

9. Removing the gills

Once the attachments are cut, you can remove the gills easily. Wash the scaled, gutted fish well in ice-cold water, then pack on a bed of crush ice until ready to cook.