|Tilapia with fresh herbs|
The object of filleting is to remove the fish from its skeleton in two unmarred steaks. Which is why we prefer to have professionals do it for us. But, you can do it at home. You will need:
- A boning knife
- Kitchen shears
|Scaled and gutted, but not filleted|
Use your boning knife or your shears to remove the gills and fins from around the top of the spine. Then, use your boning knife to cut along the spine, tip to tail. Then take a second cut along the dorsal side of the fish. Using your boning knife, gently cut the fish off of the bone, starting at the spine. Use your kitchen shears to cut through the last if the flesh at the ends of the rib cage.
|Remove the gills and fins|
|Cut tip to tail|
|Gently ease the fish from the bone|
|Use the kitchen shears for the final cut|
Once you have your fillets cut, use the pliers to remove any stray bones from the fish. Also, if you wait until after they are cooked to skin your fish, most of the time it will peel right off.
|Fish fillets, done at home|
You can use the fins, gills, and bones for a very nice fish stock. Place them in a pot of water with some onion and leek, salt, pepper, and a moderate pour of white wine and Thai fish sauce. Let it simmer on the back burner to use for a sauce later.
|Fish stock - future sauce|
And we had plenty of time for our fish stock to simmer this evening as we decided to pair it with fresh fava beans. This large, tender legume has a bad reputation for being fussy to prep. This is because it's a two-step process - once you get the beans out of the pod, there is a membrane that also needs to be removed. This is not as much work as it sounds. The pods are thick and furry on the insides but they come apart fairly easily. Once all your beans have been removed from their pods, dealing with that extra membrane is pretty easy, too. Just steam the beans for about 30 seconds and that hull loosens up. Removing it is similar to removing the red skin from Spanish peanuts.
|Removing the membrane|
|Prepped and ready to cook|
Cooking favas is also easy. They cook through in about 15 minutes on the stovetop in a bit of olive oil. We mixed ours with some asparagus and a bit of cooked potato we had from Friday's dinner.
|Favas and asparagus in olive oil|
While the favas were cooking, we broiled the fish following the technique for The Easiest Fish Ever. We also got back to that fish stock.
We strained the stock and combined it with heavy cream and butter over low heat. We added fresh herbs to flavor it and a little potato starch to thicken it up. We got a rich, slightly creamy sauce with a strong umami element that didn't overpower the delicate tilapia.
A little jasmine rice rounded out our Sunday night dinner, making a pleasing end to a beautiful summer weekend.