After yesterday’s long morning of butchering ducks, I was excited to jump on filleting fish because a) I’m pretty good at it and b) it doesn’t take as long (at least that’s what I thought).
But then I met a monkfish for the first time, and it’s like handling one of those nasty serpent-like aliens in the movie Alien. The fish has a thick, slimy skin that you have to rip off. And it takes both hands’ strength to do it.
After the fish is skinned, there’s another layer of mucus-like membrane. That has to come off too, but it’s incredibly time consuming because it needs to be shaved off with a fillet knife while keeping the flesh intact. It basically took me an hour to do one fish. And then I had to tackle the second one.
The last step in prepping the monkfish for the Level 6 students was taking a machete (or a knife that looks like one) and portioning the fish. Chef John told me the size and curve of this knife makes it easy to cut through the spine of this fish, but of course I couldn’t cut the fish. (I really need to go start going to the gym again.)
By the end of the day, I had a new hatred for monkfish. And can’t wait to repeat this whole process in Level 6 when I come through “Production” again.
TIP OF THE DAY: The sharper your knife, the faster you’ll fillet a fish.