How To Clean Fish – Fresh Snapper

The quality of the fresh fish is paramount to us: the water salinity of the Mediterranean Sea is peculiar to give to outr fishes the rich taste that is so difficult to find in other parts of the world. Obviously I carry out all the preparations using the best fish available, considering that living in Italy I can find fresh fish in the market every day, excluding Monday, when Italian fisheries are closed because is the day of rest for our fish-boat. May be you can get only frozen fish, and still you will be able to make a wonderful dish following my recipes, and if you are so lucky to find fresh fish in the market of your home-town remains only one important thing to consider: how to clean it in the proper way and this is what i am going to explain to you through my posts.

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.



 first of all choosing a fresh fish you have to notice:

eyes must be transparent like crystal

the gills, when opened, are internally a nice light red color

scales: must be firm on the fish skin (but few qualities as Sardines, Anchovies what we call Pesce Azzurro usually loose the scales even when fresh because these type of fishes stay always crowded very tight even while still alive in the sea: you can find their scales on the sea surface, also when they are caught in the net and during their storage the friction drive the scales to be loosened from the skin)

the body have to be hard: body hard means the fish has died only from 1-2 hours (rigor mortis) after 2 hour it start to softer, this depends upon the temperature, too.

The belly is firm and tight: swollen belly means there is gas inside and the fish isn’t so fresh



depending of the recipe you are going to prepare, start cutting the lateral fins with a scissor: these are the only fins we go to cut off;

, in order to speed up the cleaning process after the fish is cooked, I do not cut the other fins






 you cut both of them








using the knife-edge scrape off the scales from the skin: grabbing firmly the fish tail with one hand drive the blade to the head with a parallel movement: you  have to scrap not to cut

do it on every spot of skin, in particular under the belly where scales are tiny




 wash away the scales with running water: you could also scrape off the scales under the water, too








 once you finish with the scales insert the blade of a scissor (or knife) inside the fish anus: don’t go too deep or you’ll break the internal organs







 do a clean-cut and open the fish with your fingers, cut all the way until the throat










 insert your first finger in between and underneath the gills you will hook the throat








 cut the throat with the scissor










 this allows you to remove the internal organs using your fingers









 try to not break the internal organs and do a clean job!










 you’ll see the organs in my hand, slowly and with kindness I clean internally the fish: have respect for it! this fish is a source of your life: never forget it!








 the last part  to get is the intestine…. 









 …pull it off or just cut with the scissor








 check if something is still inside the fish and take it out: often there is black skin (peritoneum) which must be removed because it’s taste is too bitter









 you can see the internal organs…







 ..let’s go for the gills! 










 spread the opening











 under the lower jab you will find where the gills are attached to it: cut with the scissor (as in the picture)








 this will enable you to lift the lower part of the gills









 insert your finger inside and pull









 pull until the gills upper bone will break








 use strength to do the job!










 the gills will remain in your hand  










 wash under running water









 and it’s done!




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