1. Using a sharp fillet knife, remove the head by cutting at a slight angle from behind the gills towards the base of the head. The head can also be left on or the viscera removed before the head. Try different ways to determine what you prefer.
2. Hold the fish and face belly towards you. Cut a slit in the vent up the belly to the throat, using just the tip of your knife and just cutting the skin (do not cut too deep or you will get into the entrails).
3. Using your thumb push the entrails (also referred to as viscera or guts) out.
4. Using your knife tip, open the blood line and remove with your thumb.
6. Scrape “slime” off skin. This helps flavor and preservation of fish.
7. The fish is now “cleaned” and ready to cook whole (grill, pan fry, cook in a foil pouch, or bake in the oven). You can also store the cleaned fish in the refrigerator to cook within a few days or freeze the fish to use within a few months.