Are you in for a challenge today? Here is a step-by-step picture guide to show you how to clean fish, like fresh sardines for instance! Once you have cleaned your first one, well you will see how easy it really is to do… Try it!
So you are a little curious about how to clean fish at home then, good job!
Sure it might look like a dirty job to do, but it is really easier than it looks. Believe me. There’s absolutely nothing to be scared of here. Hey, those fish won’t bite! They are dead already.
No seriously. Once you have cleaned your first fish, then you will see how simple it really is. And the more fish you clean, the faster it will go afterwards.
There’s one thing you have to make sure before you start.
Whatever you do, just make sure that when you go grocery shopping at your local supermarket or fishmonger, that the fish is absolutely fresh.
Do you know how you know when fish is fresh, and when it is old?
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 about how to clean 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 or in Italian sarde in saor! This dish contains floured and pan fried sardines marinated in vinegar… Believe me, it is a great summer lunch straight from the streets of Venice!
Are you ready to learn how to clean fish?
Then here we go.
How To Clean Fish: Step by Step Method
How to clean fish: a step-by-step guide to help you clean fresh sardines like a pro!
- 16 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!
Recipes for Fresh Sardines
So, did you enjoy that?
Not that you know how to clean fish, what can you do with those lovely fresh fish fillets?
Do you often cook with fresh sardines at home? Or perhaps you like to order them at your favorite mediterranean style restaurant?
What are a couple of good recipes for sardines?
I have already mentioned those pickled sarde in saor sardines from Venice. A real treat, especially in the summer. One of my all time favorite sardine dishes to eat in a restaurant is a Moroccan sardine tagine. Couscous, vegetables and oven baked sardines… With loads of preserved lemon, please!
I haven’t cooked that dish myself at home, so let me find you a recipe from another fellow food blogger that is pretty similar to this sardine couscous. And I happen to find this sardine tagine on a website by the name of ‘My Moroccan Food’ run by Nargisse from London.
Check it out!
Any other fresh sardine recipes you can think of?
I love to place the freshly cleaned sardine filets skin side down in a baking dish. And then sprinkle them with pepper, salt, breadcrumbs and chopped garlic. Also add a glass of white wine to the dish and then bake the sardines in a preheated oven at 400°F (200°C) for about 20 minutes.