How to prepare a whole fish

The Good Food cookery team show you how to prepare a whole fish for the oven like a professional including trimming the fins, scaling and gutting.

Points to remember

  • Trim the fins using scissors.
  • Scale the fish using a fish scaler or the back of a knife, working from the tail, towards the head.
  • Cut at an angle into the back of the head on both sides, and then one cut on the underside. Snap the head away, removing any innards that come with it.
  • Gut the fish by running the tip of the knife through from the vent to the head, then discard anymore innards. Break the membrane holding the bloodline with the tip of a knife, then use a brush or kitchen paper to clean it out. Rinse under a gentle running cold tap.
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PREPARING A WHOLE FISH

Fish should smell pleasantly of the sea – if it smells fishy, it’s not fresh.

PREPARING A WHOLE FISH

The eyes should be bright and shining – dull eyes mean the fish is not fresh.

PREPARING A WHOLE FISH

If you pull the gills open, the insides should be bright pink-red – a dark bluey-purple colour means the fish isn’t fresh.