Filleting a Round Fish
1. Cut off the fins with heavy scissors. Grip the fish by the tail in a kitchen towel and scale by pushing toward the head with a fish scaler or the back of a kitchen knife.
2. Remove the tail with shears.
3. Starting at the tail, slide a sharp knife along the length of the back, above and parallel with the backbone, about 1/2 inch into the fish.
4. Repeat this motion but farther in along the backbone. Cut through the ribs, leaving them on the fillet, or slide a knife along the ribs, leaving them attached to the skeleton.
5. Detach the top fillet.
6. Turn the fish over and around so the tail faces away. Make a diagonal slice down to the bone at the base of the head.
7. Slide the knife along the back, cutting about 1/2 inch deep along the upper side of the bones.
8. Repeat this motion, folding back the fillet until you expose the central backbone.
9. Slice in the opposite direction – away from you – along the ribs, detaching the second fillet.
10. To skin the fillet, place the fillet skin down on the cutting surface. Cut just above the tail, down to the inner part of the skin. Grip the skin with your hand and move it side to side while pulling. Hold the knife firmly and almost flat.
Thanks to James Peterson for these instructions from his book “Fish & Shellfish”