jun 05 2008
The ballan wrasse (Labrus Bergylta) is a common fish along the coast of countries around the North Sea. In the summer the wrasse seek to shallow waters where they are easy to catch. The ballan wrasse is a regular visitor to my fishing nets when the nets are set on shallow water close to the shore. The wrasse is also easy to catch by using a regular fishing rod. You may then use a small fishing hook and bait it with periwinkles found in the shoreline.
In Norway there are no commercial fishery for ballan wrasse, and most recreational fishermen are not interested in the large and «bony» wrasse. Most people are therefore surprised when they finally get a chance to taste this unpopular fish.
It is surprisingly easy to fillet a wrasse. You do not need to clean the fish before you start filleting. First you make a deep and long cut from the neck to the ventral fin.
Then you take a firm grip on the fishtail and start to move the knife forward, towards the first cut. This will give you a nice fillet with no bones.
When removing the skin you may use a pincer to get a firm grip on the skin. Let the knife blade point a bit downwards while you «saw» off the skin.
It helps if you make sideways moves with the pincer; pulling the fillet slowly towards you. Let the knife do the job. Then turn the fish around and repeat. That’s all!
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