How To Clean Flying Fish

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Cleaning Flying Fish while growing up in Barbados does bring back memories! I think I was about 7 years old when I first learned how to clean Flying Fish.

It is really pretty easy. A little practice and you will soon be cleaning Flying Fish with ease. If at all possible, use clean, running water to rinse the Flying Fish as you clean.

This was not the way we did it back then as best practices were not always something we did, but now we have the proper tools for this job.

Scaling the Flying Fish

For this step, you will need a fish-board with a clip to hold the tail or you can hold the tail with your hand. You will also need a fish scaler or use the unsharpened side of a good sturdy knife (short blade is best).

With the Flying Fish held firmly by the tail, scrape very firmly from the tail to the gills several times on both sides.

This will remove the scales so you don’t have to deal with them later. No one wants to find them in a bite of Cou Cou and Flying Fish!

Gutting the Flying Fish

To properly gut the Flying Fish without tearing into the stomach or intestines, you will need a sharp, short bladed knife.

The short blade gives you better control. The first cut you want to make is just at gill level from the belly side. This results in a cut between the jawbone and the tongue.

Do not cut through the spine. Next, place 1 or 2 fingers inside the Flying Fish’s mouth with the palm of your hand pressed firmly on the top of its head and your thumb in the gill to hold it solid.

Then, carefully, begin to slit the Flying Fish’s belly starting at the anus and working your way up to the cut under the gills.

You need to be careful not to cut into the guts themselves, as this will foul the flesh, making it inedible. Keep your knife just under the skin.

To pull the guts out, hold the Flying Fish firmly with your thumb under the jaw and your index finger in the mouth.

Then get a firm grip on the guts and pull them out. All that is left to do is to scrape your thumb along the spine in the gut cavity to clean out the bloodline.

To Behead Or Not To Behead

This last step can be a matter of personal preference, most Bajans including me prefer them with the head one.

Removing the head of the Flying Fish. Some people like it left on, but some don’t like their food looking back at them.

However to remove the head, you need a good sturdy knife. The same one you used to cut the belly open will work.

Just be sure to rinse it good first. To cut the head off, grasp the Flying Fish firmly in the middle with your thumb in the gut cavity and the rest of your hand wrapped around it. Hold the Flying Fish so that the head is pushed down on your cutting surface.

With your knife, make a firm slicing motion through the spine at gill level, preferably with the gut cavity up. Once this is complete, rinse the Flying Fish and you are ready to proceed with the rest of your Flying Fish cleaning.

Chopping Boards For Your Meats, Fish & Veg

How to choose the right chopping board, you use it everyday in the Kitchen. If not looked after it can make you sick – And yet you probably never give it a second thought.

The Chopping Board is a large board you use in the kitchen for chopping, cutting and preparing food on.

When purchasing a new board, there are heaps of options to choose from – timber, glass, marble, plastic. And it can be a confusing choice.

Glass and Marble type cutting boards may look good but they play havoc on your knives. The hard surface will quickly blunt your knife and damage it’s edge.

So, keep your glass and marble boards for serving food only.

When it comes to wooden and plastic boards, even the experts are divided as to which is best. It comes down to personal preference. And mine is…. wooden.

Wooden boards are generally heavier and less inclined to slip. They are also more attractive and can be used to serve food at the table.

Where as plastic boards are lighter, come in various colors and are dishwasher safe.

Whichever type you choose, it is imperative you clean it well. Harmful bacteria can breed on your board and cause dreadful food poisoning.

So …  be sure to scrub your board well after each use, with hot water and detergent. Then allow it to stand and drip dry. Your board should be completely dry before using again.

It’s a good idea to have more than one board, to avoid cross contamination. Have one for raw meat and one for other foods.

Or take it to the extreme and do what the professionals do.  Use 5 different colored boards:-

Red – Raw Meats

Yellow – Poultry

Blue – Seafood

Green – Fruit and Vegetables

White – General

So, if you board is starting to look a bit worse for wear, then it is probably time for a new one. And now you will be well informed to choose the right one for you.

Who would you eat from now?

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About Joyce Walcott 41 Articles
I had the opportunity of working and learning alongside the best chefs in Barbados many years ago until I became an Executive Chef, I still cook and write on all things cooking.