Master chef Jacques Pépin reveals essential techniques for preparing raw fish including cleaning, scaling and boning. Plus, F&W’s best fish recipes.

By Food & Wine
Updated March 31, 2015

In this article:

How to Clean Sole

Jacques Pépin demonstrates how to get the most meat out of a small fish.

Scaling Fish

Jacques Pépin shows how to scale fish without making a mess.

Prepping Whole Salmon for Gravlax and Salmon Tartare

Jacques Pépin demonstrates how to bone a whole salmon and make amazing gravlax and salmon tartare.

Cleaning Calamari

Essential techniques for cleaning fresh squid.

Peeling and Cleaning Shrimp

Master chef Jacques Pépin demonstrates how to peel and clean shrimp.

Delicious Fish & Seafood Recipes Using These Techniques

Suffed Whole Wild Salmon
Credit: © Tina Rupp

Stuffed Whole Wild Salmon

Whole fish are usually less expensive than fillets, and the presentation is more impressive. This recipe calls for an eight-pound whole scaled and cleaned wild salmon; cooking a fish of this size might sound intimidating, but it's surprisingly fast and simple—though filleting the salmon can require some finesse.

Mussel-and-Squid Pilaf with Sweet Spices and Dill

Mussel-and-Squid Pilaf with Sweet Spices and Dill

The tender calamari in this dish are cleaned and sliced in quarter-inch rings. The addition of spices like allspice and cinnamon, plus some currants, gives the dish a slightly sweet edge.

Redfish on the Half Shell

Redfish on the Half Shell

Donald Link suggests grilling or roasting this fish, then serving it in its hardened skin (“on the half shell”). Redfish—a white-fleshed fish with big scales that are hard to remove—is an ideal choice, but striped bass is great too. You’ll have to buy the fish directly from a fishmonger; ask him to leave the scales on the fillets.

Shrimp with Rice Vinegar and Dipping Sauce

To boost the shrimp flavor, shell and devein the shrimp after boiling them.

Salmon Gravlax

Everyone seems to love this cured fish dish from Sweden but no one ever seems to make it at home no matter how easy it is. Although Alton Brown usually cures a whole salmon, you could cure as little as a single fillet if you’d like.

Cured Salmon Tartare with Cilantro

Melissa Kelly makes her tartare with sugar-and-salt-cured salmon; she uses brown sugar for a sweeter cured flavor.


Slideshow: Seafood and Shellfish Recipes

Whole Grilled Fish with Crispy Garlic and Red Chiles
Chef Pete Evans grills whole red snapper in banana leaves with soy, sherry and ginger.
Grilled Squid and Torpedo Onions with Sorrel
Credit: © Anna Williams
Shrimp-and-Avocado Salad with Mango Dressing
Credit: © John Kernick

Video: Seafood Recipes & Cooking Tips