It’s quite often cheaper to buy a whole fish from your fishmonger or supermarket, you can ask them to clean and prepare it for you no worries.
But maybe you’ve caught one yourself or one just fell in your boat or your fishmonger doesn’t know how to gut fish… In any of those cases here are a couple of helpful hints followed by a super simple recipe for you to chuck your fishies into.
How to De-scale a Fish (this mostly only applies to salt-water fish)
Grab a sharp but reasonably bendy knife and begin to scrape the outside of the fish holding onto the tail. You should hold it at an angle just past vertical so that as you move it along the body of the fish it begins to pull away the scales. Play around with the angle until the scales begin to flick off. You will need to put a bit of pressure on the fish to get them to scrape off, but not too much as to pierce the skin. Carry on doing this all over so that all the scales are completely removed. Once done, you can wash its lovely smooth fishy skin.
How to de-gut a fish OR How to get all the inside bits out of a fish’s tummy because they are just gross
If you get a fish with the guts still in, it’s pretty easy to de-gut so don’t be scared. Grab a sharp knife, and then place the fish upside down so the belly is facing upwards. Pierce the skin under the head and pull the knife down towards the rear end of the fish. In the cavity that you have now created put your index finger in and scoop out the guts. You may need to insert the knife again to cut away the heart near the head. Once you have scooped all this out you can quickly rinse under a tap.
If you want to remove the head lift up the fins and cut around the place where the join the body. This should make an incision from the body cavity you have made. Then simply cut through the spine at the top removing the head.
Mackerel, Fennel and Potatoes
Very easy, simple dish that is full of flavour and super good for you, and also makes you look amazing (at cooking, I don’t think this will help you change your actual look, use botox for that or a mask).
What you need (for a good 2 person portion)
- 2 mackerel (whole, or filleted)
- 10 new potatoes
- Small handful of cherry tomatoes
- Tablespoon of capers
- 1 red chilli
- 1 small fennel with fronds
- Handful of parsley
- Sprig of dill
- Olive oil
Grab your mackerel, fillet and remove the head. Inside the belly cavity place some slices of lemon and season well inside and out with salt, pepper and olive oil. If you are using fillets do the same, but just place the lemon under the fillets, with the skin facing upwards.
Into salted, boiling water add your new potatoes and par-boil until they are just turning soft. While this is all happening turn your oven on to preheat at 180C.
Into a roasting tray pour the now par-boiled potatoes, tomatoes, 1 sliced chilli, 1 fennel (chopped into little sticks), the capers, a squeeze of juice from the lemon, and some chopped dill. Finally season with salt, pepper and and good helping of olive oil. Mix well together and place into the oven for 10 minutes. After 10 remove and place your fish on-top, and squeeze over a little more lemon and olive oil.
Place this into the oven for about 15-20 minutes, (15 if in fillets, 20 if whole) turning the fish in the last 5 minutes. Place the fish and a helping of the delicious soft potatoes, tomato and fennel mixture on a plate. Sprinkle over some freshly chopped parsley and some lemon to serve. Super fucking easy. Pretty sure this is just how Italians would do it. Zero fuss, few ingredients and maximum flavour.