Stein's Online Fishmongers

Skinning and Pan-frying a Whole Flat Fish

Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut away the frills from either side of the fish, close to the edge of the flesh.  Snip off all the other little fins.

Make a shallow cut through the skin across the tail end of the fish with a sharp knife.  Push the tip of the knife under the skin to release a small flap that you can get hold of.

Dip the fingers of your left hand in some salt and grab hold of the tail.  With your other hand, take hold of the skin using a tea towel and in one swift, sharp movement, pull the skin away along the entire length of the fish.  Repeat on the other side.  

Dip the skinned fish into some seasoned flour, making sure that it becomes well coated on both sides.

Lift up the fish and pat it on either side to remove the excess flour.

For each fish, heat 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil in a large, well-seasoned or non-stick frying pan.  Add the fish, lower the heat slightly and add 7 g (1/4 oz) unsalted butter pieces.

Leave to fry for 4 – 5 minutes over a moderate heat until richly golden on the underside.  Carefully turn the fish over and cook for a further 4 – 5 minutes.

Lift the fish on to a board.  Working down first one side of the fish and then the other, trap the lateral bones, which run all around the outside edge of the fish and into the fillets, with a thin-bladed, flexible knife, and drag them away.

Now run the knife down the centre of the fish and gently ease the fillets away from the bones, but leave them attached along the outside edge of the fish.

Take hold of the bones at the head end and carefully ‘unzip’ the fish.  The bones will come away cleanly and the fillets will fall back into place.

Transfer the fish to a warmed serving plate and slightly part the fillets at what was the head end so that you can just see the underlying fillets.

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