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Do you de-bone fish filets?

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Just a quick question: If for more than me and SO, I might take the time to de-bone a fish filet, but even then not sure I'd go through the what seems like a hassle mostly probably because I don't have a good technique, but do you de-bone fish filets? All the time? Only for company? Never?

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  1. I will with salmon, since the pin bones are relatively easy to find and pluck out. Plus, they are really big and I wouldn't want to accidentally eat one.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Philly Ray

      Yes. Always. With tweezers. I did this several times over Passover with the whitefish I bought for gefilte fish. Tedious, but I was afraid someone would choke on a pin bone that the grinder missed.

      1. re: Miri1

        We commonly get Coho salmon and it unfortunately always has a line of pin bones. I hate to cook it without removing, but also find removing a challenge. I use tweezers, but I end up tearing a strip of fish with many of the bones. My fillet looks pretty beat up afterwards. I have often wondered what I am doing wrong, or if it is just this type of fish. Perhaps I need to start removing them after cooking. Any tips?

        1. re: cleopatra999

          Tip: grip a pin bone with needle nose pliers, and then slide a fork between the pliers and fish, press slightly on the fork as you pull the bone out. You won't beat up the fish.

    2. If I'm serving a piece of fish as a filet, especially for anyone other than me, I debone. I guess I feel that the term filet suggests no bones.

      I know very few people these days who understand that fish comes with bones (or heads and eyes, for that matter). It's just what I do most of the time to avoid awkwardness for them, as guests.

      If I get lucky and can feed people who are happy with whole fish, I serve it whole and we know about the bone situation.

      1. I prefer to filet my own fish. I always debone, especially with something like striped bass. When I buy fluke or flounder filets, they are already bone free. I can't help but wonder who would've filetted the fish without doing so in the first place? That seems pretty amateur to me. Things like anchovies or sardines, however, that I buy and cook whole, I kinda like the crunch of the bones.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MGZ

          I buy most of my fish at either Wegmans or Whole Foods and it usually has a few bones though perhaps those are remnants which were missed as it's usually only 5 or 6 for a 2 lb filet-they are present both in salmon filets and a few in Chilean sea bass.

        2. In our kitchen we check to see if the fillets have been de-boned at the market. If not I take out our dedicated needlenose pliers and take the offending bones out. Always do it with salmon without question.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Gio

            I should use needlenose pliers as I don't think I have the skills to do it with a boning knife :)

            1. re: fldhkybnva

              It really is a useful kitchen tool and comes in handy when needed . I hand wash it rather than put into the dishwasher. Yes, the boneing knife is too unwieldy for that job, IMO.

              1. re: Gio

                I imagine it would also be good to pull out the toothpicks in my favorite stuffed chicken after it's finished. They get so stuck in there after it cook.

                1. re: Gio

                  Needlenose pliers are a kitchen tool indeed. I'd only suggest gettin' a pair with a nice, thick grip. And, yes, handwashing is a good idea.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Needlenose pliers are a must.

                2. re: fldhkybnva

                  I use needlenose pliers, but ours aren't exactly dedicated for this purpose. I just steal them from the toolbox and wash the heck out of them. No one's been poisoned yet.

              2. No, I don't debone fillets myself. That's what fishmongers are for.

                But I do check if it's been done properly and get the fish tweezers out if not.

                1. I will filet myself and debone irrespective of service because there's always room for improving one's technique. Use fish tweezers and surgical clamps to yank pin bones.

                  When it's filet, I still check.

                  1. Most of the fish I purchase usually comes filleted and deboned. I simply check for any stray bones that may have been missed.

                    If it is a whole fish I almost always filet and debone. For me I have found that it helps to use a good, flexible filet knife. Occasionally, I will serve the entire fish but that is rare.

                    1. Not really. We don't eat much fish, but I think we might get fishing licenses this year. I find it easier to just lift of the fish from the bone after it is cooked.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: wyogal

                        Especially trout. I caught some beautiful brookies in the Big Horns near Ten Sleep.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Yeah, that's pretty much all I catch. I'd love to catch some walleye, though! We have excellent trout fishing here, close by.