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Most round fish are cleaned through their belly because this method is fast and easy. For the preparation of whole filled fish without bones on the other hand it is not suited. For this purpose the fish should be cleaned through its back. To make this possible it should be scaled and all fins cut off first.

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Removing the gills

After the fish is scaled the gills have to be removed. Lift the gill cover with your thump and cut out the arches with kitchen scissors.

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Removing the fishbones

With a sharp knife make a cut across the back where the head begins. It should be so deep that the tip of the knife touches the backbone. Now a clean cut is made on both sides of the backbone starting at the head and going all the way to the caudal fin. All bones starting at the backbone should be visible but be careful not to cut through them. The next step is to cut along the curved bones towards the belly until the whole carcass is visible. Be careful not to cut through the belly.

The backbone can now be cut behind the head and close to the tail with scissors. The carcass is then removed without lacerating the bowels. Next the bowels are cut out with scissors as well. Any remaining bones should be removed with pincers.

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Fill and tie up

Now the filling is spooned into the opening. Don't put too much filling in or it will not be possible to close the fish. It is then tied up with kitchen string. The fish will now keep its shape during cooking and the filling cannot seep out easily.

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