Patrick Hoogerhyde, chef and owner of Bridge Seafood on Ship Creek in Anchorage, knows how to fillet a fish. Growing up in the appropriately-named Southwest Alaska community of King Salmon, Hoogerhyde learned how to perfect his filleting technique.
Here's what you'll need need to fillet a sockeye salmon: One day-old, iced sockeye (also known as red) salmon, a flexible fillet knife, cutting board or surface, and forceps or pliers.
Then, follow these steps:
Remove the head by slicing along the collarbone
Slice the bottom of the body from the back to the front and then remove the guts.
Using the backbone as a guide for cutting your fillet, cut from the collarbone to the tail, through the pin bones.
Slowly slice from the belly to the collar bone to remove the belly and pins bones. Angle the knife toward the bone to remove as little meat as possible.
Cut off the belly, remove the fin and skin and slice into small pieces and set aside.
Remove the remaining pin bones using modified forceps or pliers. It’s best to have the fish sit for a day on ice, to allow for easy removal of the pin bones.
Slice into section that will fit your grill.
You’ll want to save the belly because, according to Hoogerhyde, “The bellies are tender and have the most fat content. It’s great for a pasta dish or a stir fry -- it’s really nice and rich but great, great flavor.”
To learn how to grill a sockeye salmon fillet, watch part two of this series with Bridge Seafood chef Patrick Hoogerhyde.