Cleaning Fish – Bogue (Buga – Boops Boops)


I inform you that in this post there are bloody photos related to the preparation of this recipe: if you are sensitive to blood please don’t go further.

Bougue (Buga – Boops Boops) it is a common fish in the Mediterranean sea, this is the best fish to start the art of cleaning fishes, one day my Mother put a “Buga” in my hand, then she said: ” oua fanni comme mi, cuminsa cuhn u cutellu ad arvighe a pansa” which in our dialet means: “now you do the same as I do, start to open the belly with your knife”…this is the most easy fish to clean because the meat is firm, the scales are pretty easy to remove, the internal organs are strong. later on you will be able to clean more delicate fish, or even so strong that become hard get rid of them, or fishes with poisoning sting, I will show you how to do a proper cleaning of all of them in my future posts, but the beginning is here: Bougue!


 Fish must be fresh, you can check the eyes must be luster and transparent, the scales the bones and the meat must be firm, the gills pink;

the fish is not fresh when the eyes are dull, the scales loosen, the meat soft, the gills deep red and the belly swollen: do not buy;






 open the belly starting from the anus going all the way up to the throat









 you can use knife or scissor to do the job









you can open to the mouth if you want to remove the gills, too;










open the belly inserting your fingers below the internal viscera









pull out the intestine detaching it from the anus









go for the throat  with your fingers









grab firmly the throat (and the gills you want to remove them too) with your fingers








then pull out detaching the throat (eventually also the gills) from the head









you can see bowls and internal viscera in my hand, throat is between my thumb and first finger










you can see the fish is cleaned of everything now









now we get rid of the scales: keeping the blade parallel to the fish I start to remove the scale without cut the fish skin and meat, just only the scales









keeping the fish under the water will make easier the scale removing…









passing the knife blade several times from the tail to the head…










the task has to be carried out perfectly to avoid further accidents: when you eat the fish if you ingest a scale it can stuck in your throat it is painful and dangerous, too.







starting from the tail clean all the fish skin surface, double-check every spot








moving carefully the blade








paying special attention to the part under the fish belly, where are small scales……








….. and the top of the head, where scales are big and thick and hard to remove









also under the fins, scales are often so tiny that you cannot even see them…










you must discard the scales, pay attention because they can stuck in your sink putting you in trouble, it is better use a filter in the sink hole or use paper where you will put the scales before to trash as garbage








finally you wash in running water the fish.

I did not remove the fins tail and dorsal and ventral fins and tails because:

1_it is easier to remove after the fish is cooked

2_if you cut the fins and tails a small residual of bones remain in the meat and you can ingest it and can be dangerous

3_the fish will remain more compact during the cooking time

4_it is easier open the cooked fish without ruin it: tails and fins are the points where to insert the knife blade to open the fish and clean it from the bones

5_fins and tails add taste to your dish, they are full of collagen which make the sauce melt and firm


finally you are ready to prepare your recipe, just with some flour and oil you can fry this delicious fish or made it “all’Aggiadda” ! what is that? go in the section “Recipes” to find out it!!!





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