Preparing a whole Sea Bass

To celebrate our great Welsh fish and help your healthy eating habits for 2019, it’s a good time to introduce some fish to your diet and learn new skills too. Fish is high in protein and contains those all-important omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to a healthy diet.

Here is a step-by-step guide to preparing and cooking a whole Seabass.

Equipment needed:
• Scissors,
• Filleting knife,
• Blue chopping board,
• Fish descaler (or back of knife is fine )

Preparing your Seabass:

1. Firstly make sure that your work area is clean, your chopping board is secure (Top tip; for this it helps to place a damp tea towel underneath to help prevent it from slipping) and have a waste bin close by.

2. Descaling the fish: using the descaler tool all you do is rub it all over the back and belly of the fish scrapping off the scales also making sure towards the head also. Remember to do both sides of the fish also.

Alternatively, if you are using a knife, keep the blade facing you at an angle and scrape the scales away, while using the knife you must be careful not to scrape with the blade against the fish or you will be scoring the fish all over rather than making sure that the scales are all removed. Whilst doing this you should hold the fish by its tail, using a dry tea towel will help prevent the fish from sliding out of your hands.

Top tip: The ideal place to descale the fish is in the sink with cold water running, as you start to scrape the fish some of the scales will shoot off, doing this in the sink will help manage where the scales go. Once you start to scale the fish, you will be able to see where you might have missed and can then go back over to finish it off.

3. Once this has finished you should proceed to remove the guts. To do this you can place the fish on the chopping board, find the vent (or bum) of the fish and cut along towards the head in-between the top 2 fins and under the chin. Running a cold water through the belly will help clean the insides as you remove the guts and the bloodline.

4. Then you can go back to your chopping board, and using your scissors cut away at the 2 front fins and back fin being as close to the flesh as possible. You can use a kitchen cloth to dry the fish at this stage if it seems to be slippery still.

5. Filleting the fish: Now you can start to remove the fillets. To start you should run your knife along the backbone of the fish starting from the head and slowly cut towards the tail. Doing this slowly will make sure you have control of your knife whilst cutting along the ribs. You continue to work you knife in long strokes along the one side of the fish until you reach the belly where the fillet should come clean off. Then you can repeat of the other side.

Top tip: With the bones, you could always make a stock but adding it to cold water, leeks, onion, celery sticks. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2hrs before straining.

Best way to cook the seabass is pan roasted:

1. Lightly flour the skin side, shaking off any excess flour then adding to a hot oiled pan skin side down.
2. Lightly fry until the skin shows some colour then place the pan into an oven for 3 minutes at 185c.
3. Once cooked remove the fish from the pan serve with some wilted samphire, boiled new potatoes and a fresh Lava bread sauce made from the fish stock.

Preparing and cooking a whole Seabass develops skills learnt by apprentices when working towards a Foundation Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery and Craft Cuisine Level 2 and covers preparing and cooking of a whole fish. For more information about Apprenticeships contact Cambrian Training Company at or Tel: 01938 555893.