How to filet a baguette

Figure # 1

Well then, it appears you can catch something besides a cold! That’s a nice five-pounder you got there.  (Figure # 1) Now it’s time to filet your treasure, discarding flour bones, grain entrails and embarrassing glutton anal fins. Fortunately, it’s not too complicated a process and takes only minutes from stream to frying pan. You’ll need a flat surface, good light, a sharp filet knife and a steady hand (some prefer mesh gloves).

Figure #2

First: Wash your baguette. I know that sounds stupid but the thing has not exactly been living in the water. Humor me on this easy step to gourmet dining in the woods or on the patio. If you are performing this cleaning feat riverside you can throw most of the waste back into the water since baguette are ravished cannibals and enjoy a break from common bait.

(Figure # 2) Hold baguette firmly on surface with consistent weight on knife blade. Make incisions at crust gills and trim these lean fins. The cuts will allow better penetration when the filet sweep is engaged. Trim carefully so as not to waste edible parts. (It’s far less messy to do this outside near where you hauled in the catch.)

Figure # 3

(Figure # 3) Gut your prize. Slowly run filet knife along the stomach from top to bottom. Make sure to compete the pattern to get everything all the way down to the rear fins. It could get dusty at times. Discard all excess. You are now ready to trim the filets.

Figure # 4

A smooth motion down both sides of the baguette will insure clean, pretty filets that will be a cinch to prepare. Hold the baguette firmly and cut without interruption. For mackinaw baguette it might be helpful to use a large table and machete and ask a fellow angler to pin the baguette. Now run the knife along the skin (Figure #4) to scale the baguette. Do not peel skin.

Now you have a fine filet. Serve with olive oil, butter, salami and yes, fish.

– Earl MacAdoo

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