How to Break Down a Whole Salmon

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 64,749
    Chef Bobby Varua demonstrates how to break down a whole salmon.

    Bobby Varua: Hi! My name is Bobby Varua. Welcome to 701 Restaurant. I am going to be showing you how to break down a whole Atlantic salmon and prepare a nice summer spring dish. Alright, let's get started.

    You can go your local fish monger. You will see a lot in the grocery stores,get your salmon kind of broken down already but if you want to get a little bit adventurous can you hold yourself a whole Atlantic salmon, it's really, really fun. On a nice apron get a little messy, but here we go. Let's get started.

    We are going to start off with the salmon. Couple of safety procedures first that you want to do before you start breaking down your salmon. I like to take two towels, place it on my cutting board. The reason I put the towels is to prevent slipping of the fish. The fish can get a little slippery at times and most important you don't want to hurt yourself.

    Alright, one thing before we get started, let's get our gloves on, sanitation gloves on really, really important handling the fish. You don't want cross contaminate anything. But once we get the fish down on the cutting board, there is couple of things I just want to run through. It's a beautiful fish right here. Just a couple of things I want to run through on as far as checking the quality and freshness of the fish. Three main things you want to check for the eyes. The eyes got to be nice and clear. That shows a lot of freshness in the fish. If the eyes are a little bit dull or cloudy it's not too fresh.

    The second part is the gills inside, it should have a nice beautiful pink red color to it. That also shows for nice freshness and goes in hand in hand just little bit of the firmness and also the smell. You want to take a smell of the fish and make sure that you are working with the fresh product.

    Alright, so let's get started. First what we are going to do, we are going to make a couple of incisions in the fish. We will take our knife. Make sure again really, really important have a sharp, sharp knife when breaking down a fish or we are going to make one really important incision here right by the head. We are going to just going to take it down right underneath the fin. You are going to feel your knife -- kind of feel in the bone that's when you want to stop. We are going to wipe off our knife and then right here we are going to use our towel to hold the fish down a little bit.

    Okay, we are going to make an incision by the tail, alright and here is where it gets a little bit tricky. Always want to hold your knife about eight, nine degrees, alright and what we are going to do is we are going to go right across the fish and what's really, really important is that you are going to be able to hear the bones, you probably not be able to hear it. Maybe if I put the microphone inside the fish, but really, really important, you don't want to feel the bones. That's where you are getting the most out of the fish.

    Alright, so again safety first. Towel underneath so it doesn't slip. We are going to take our knife. We are going to make incision by the tail and we are just going to go right across. What we are doing is we are feeling for the bones to keep that angle. I am going to go right straight across, okay. Right here, right after you are done, take your knife carefully and there you have it. Nice beautiful butchered salmon, and when we came back we are going to show you how to take off the belly and the bone.