For people who care about their food

How to remove the skin from a fillet of salmon

The same technique works for skinning other types of fish fillets too. The trick is to use a knife with a flexible blade. I like my Cutco Fisherman’s Solution knife, but at its current retail price of £47 it’s a bit like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut unless you do plan to go fishing and use all the features of this knife and its sheath (which I don’t).

Here’s what Cutco says about the Fisherman’s Solution knife:

Just what you’ll need to snag that prized catch. High-carbon, stain-resistant steel blade adjusts and locks from 6″ to 9″. Cam-Lock™ secures blade at any length. Sheath pivots and becomes a handy gripper for cleaning, skinning, and filleting. Built-in notched line cutter and sharpening stone. Zytel® inner track system.

Filleting knife inserted between the skin and flesh of a fillet of salmonAny flexible bladed knife is fine for the purpose and it doesn’t have to be expensive. (Nisbets do a nice filleting knife with a 6″ blade and colour-coded handle for about a tenner.) If absolutely necessary you can use your usual chef’s knife but a rigid blade makes the technique of skinning much harder to master.



Place the fillet, skin side down, on a suitable cutting board. Take hold of a corner of the skin and insert the blade between the skin and flesh to get started. If you have a whole fillet, rather than a piece of one as I had, then start at the tail end and work towards the head.

Filleting knife slicing between the skin and flesh of a fillet of salmonNext, firmly grasp that corner between thumb and forefinger and – using a zig-zagging motion – slice the skin away from the flesh. Keep the knife as close to the skin as you can and pull the skin slightly away from the knife as you go.

If you’ve done the job properly there should be no flesh left on the skin at all.

Of course, some recipes suggest you leave the skin on, but I rarely do that as we prefer our salmon fillets skinless. I don’t throw the skin away, though. I either make a quick snack of crispy salmon skin or use it in sushi – delicious!

If you’re interested in buying a proper filleting knife (and it really is worth it if you cook a lot of fish) then here’s a link to that filleting knife at Nisbets – just click on the banner:

Nisbets plc banner

Nisbets only deliver within the UK. If you live outside the UK, or want to shop around first, why not have a look at Not Delia’s Amazon Cook Shops instead?
Not Delia’s Cook Shop: UK and EU (prices in £)
Not Delia’s Cook Shop: non-EU (prices in US $)

2 Responses to “How to remove the skin from a fillet of salmon”

  1. Not Delia

    Be careful, MiGS. You don’t want to use a flexible blade knife to trim the fat off a fillet steak – you’d be in with a good chance of giving yourself a nasty cut.

    I don’t usually like fish skin and always pick it off, but crispy salmon skin is a tasty snack. I must find a recipe for it.

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