For the novice in the kitchen, the fillet is the boneless piece of meat (fish and chicken for steaks), minced meat or other types of dishes. You obtain a fillet by separating meat from bones and skin and you need a special kitchen tool to do it.
The special tool is the fillet knife, a flexible tool that helps you cut the fillets across the meat and bones and to remove as thin as you can the skin from the fillet. A fillet knife has a thin blade and narrow ends so that you can evenly cut the meat from any place around the bones. The blade is thin so that you can remove thinly the meat, without losing any meat. A fillet knife comes with a blade that may range from 6 to 11 inches in length and this makes the filleting easier and safer.
Let’s get things straight. You can use the fillet knife not only for boning and filleting fish meat, as the knife is long and flexible, but you can also use it to cut many other types of meat. You can use the fillet knife to remove skin from beef and chicken and prepare the fillet.
No matter if you are a professional cook or a regular cook for your family, you should always have around the house a fillet knife.
Are all fillet knives the same?
There are many types of sizes and shapes for the fillet knives as they are design to cut different meat, for various dishes.
A fillet knife is 6-11 inches long and it helps you cut all types of fish or meat, but the longer the fish…the longer the blade knife needs to be. The most common lengths for the fillet knives are as follow: 4, 6, 7.5 and 9 inches.
For a pan fish like perch, bluegills or perch, a 6inch blade on the knife should be enough. Go with a 7.5inch blade knife for a small trout and bass, and choose a 9inch blade for the longer fishes like salmon and pike.
Typically, you find sets of 3 or 4 fillet knives that cover all the standard sizes. If you only want to buy a single fillet knife, get yourself a 7.5inch blade knife.
How to choose your fillet knife?
The minute you realize you need a fillet knife you can’t make a random choice and simply get whatever falls down in your hands. There are some things you can pay attention to when choosing your fillet knife.
The most important feature on your fillet knife is the blade so get a stainless steel blade knife. The stronger metal blade, with non-corrosive properties, the better the fillet knife.
Fillet knives need to have flexible blade in order to help you cut easier. The flexibility of the blade related to its thickness, so the thicker the blade, the less flexible and longer the blade is. You need more flexibility when cutting a smaller fish, so the blade needs to be shorter and less thick on the knife. A larger fish would, therefore, need a stronger blade and more thickness, and that is less flexibility.
Another important aspect to consider on your fillet knife is it’s handle. You need a comfortable handle with a strong, steady grip so that you can securely, easy hold and cut the fish, with great precision and no slipping. You can find handles made of rubber, wood or plastic. Wood tends to absorbs the fishy smell and bacteria when cutting the fish, so the wood handled knives are a bit un-hygienic. You can easily clean the plastic and rubber handles. Rubber is naturally flexible, gives a strong hold and prevents slipping. On the plus side, rubber knives feature also finger hold for better grip.
How to protect the fillet knife?
For a longer life span on your fillet knife, it’s always a good thing to keep them protected when not in use. Use a knife cover to protect the blade and to prevent any accidental injury. The cover is a great deal when you are fishing and you need to keep the knife under your belt.
You may find fillet knives that come with their own sharpeners to keep the knives always sharp and ready. Keep in mind that a blunt blade is always more dangerous than a sharpen one, so always keep the blade nice and sharpen.
Nowadays, you can also get rechargeable electric fillet knives. They are even faster, easier on cutting and you only need to practice to use them right.
Keep in mind when you go shopping that the type and length of your fish are important when choosing the fillet knife. Don’t make any compromise when it comes to the materials used on the knife and consider this to be a great investment for your kitchen and…your health.