Brave you! So you’re curious about how to clean fish then, good job! It is really easier than it looks. Absolutely nothing to be scared of. Hey, they won’t bite! Once you’ve cleaned your first one you’ll see how simple it is. The more fish you clean, the faster it will go.
Whatever you do, just make sure that the fish is fresh. The eyes should be pure and glossy, skins should be slimy and not dry at all. The fish must feel firm and fat. If it feels mushy and soft and smells funny, get rid of it.
How To Clean Fish: Fresh Sardines
If you are really not comfortable with cleaning fish, just don’t do it.
Of course it is a bloody little job and then there is also that faint fishy aroma filling your nostrils all the time. It comes with the fish. But if you’re lucky, then your fishmonger might want to clean the fish for you. Maybe you can find them already filleted, who knows?
Unfortunately my local supermarket and fishmonger charge double the price for ready cleaned fillets… so I prefer to do it myself. It still costs peanuts, I’m not going to lie. But if I can clean them myself, I’ll do it. I enjoy it! Just as I enjoy cleaning seafood, like squid!
So there you are, you just cleaned a bunch of sardines. Good job!
So what recipe do you make with them? Here’s a great fresh sardine recipe for you to try: Venetian sardines with raisins and pine nuts aka sarde in saor! Breaded pan fried sardines pickled in vinegar… a great summer lunch straight from Italian!
Are you ready?
Then here we go!
How to clean fish: a step-by-step guide to help you clean fresh sardines like a pro!
- fresh sardines
- Rinse the fresh sardines under cold running tap water. Rub them gently until the scales are removed. Do this very carefully. A mouthful of scales is so extremely unappetizing!
- Drain the sardines on a piece of kitchen paper. Then put them on a chopping board and cut off the heads.
- Hold the sardine upside down in the palm of one hand. Then cut open the belly of the fish using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors up until the part where the tail starts.
- Run your thumb along the spine and push out the bloody guts.
- Rinse the inside of the sardine under cold running tap water. Make sure to remove all bloody bits (they taste awfully bitter). Then drain the cleaned sardine on kitchen paper again. Carefully push along the spine on both sides.
- The spine will bit by bit come off the sardine flesh. Leave the sardine fillet in one piece!
- Then carefully remove the spine.
- Break it off right in front of the tail or remove the spine with tail and all if you prefer.
- Rinse the sardine again. You can remove any other small fish bones if you like. And there it is: a perfectly cleaned and filleted sardine! Booyah!