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Mackerel - Cleaning

"Cleaning" a fish means preparing it for cooking. This section illustrates the basic processes involved - scaling, removing the gills (and sometimes the head, depending on how the fish will be cooked), gutting and washing.

1.Hold the mackerel's head firmly in your left hand. Hold a kitchen knife in your right hand and scrape off the scales with light, one-way strokes of the knife toward the head. Be careful not to push down on the flesh. Repeat on the other side of the fish. 2. Place the knife underneath the pectoral fin on a slight slant, as shown. Cut down to the spine. The fin should be on the head side of the cut. 3.Turn the fish over and repeat this process to cut off the head.

4.Lay the fish with the head end to the right. Use the tip of the knife to cut open the ventral side of the fish, being careful not to pierce the innards. 5.Open the ventral cut slightly with your fingertips. Take out the innards with the heel of the blade. 6.Cut into the blood-coloured part with the tip of the blade.

7.Squeeze out as many of the blood clots as possible. Thoroughly wash the visceral cavity with water. Use a bamboo whisk to scrub the walls of the cavity. Wipe dry with a cloth.