5 Simple Steps
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To avoid seriously strong fish-smelling hands, I recommend wearing disposable rubber gloves for this. Also, sardines have really soft flesh, so be gentle when handling them. Use a small sharp knife.
Chop off the head.
Remove the fin by inserting the tip of the knife and cutting around it. Pull it out - it’s attached to the spine so needs to come out before Step 5.
Chop off the tail.
‘Clean’ the fish / remove the guts. Insert knife and cut along the belly. Scrape out the insides with your fingers.
Remove the backbone by gently levering it from the flesh using one finger (easiest to start near the tail end). Pull up and along, and out of the flesh completely.
And voila! Now you have boneless sardine, ready for cooking however you please!
- Wash the fillets immediately in cold water
- You can keep the fillets a double or run your knife down the middle to make them single fillets
- Don’t worry if you see any tiny bones, they’ll soften in the cooking process. If you really don’t want them, slice that part of the fillet away with a sharp knife.
Fun fact: ‘Sardines’ is a term for lots of different small fishes, the most common being pilchards. What fish you’re actually eating depends completely on where it was caught.
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