Maître d’s do it at the tony restaurants on the Côte d’Azur. You, too, can fillet a whole grilled fish at tableside, and with a little practice, you’ll display the panache of a pro. First, you’ll need a large serving fork and spoon and a second platter for disposing of the fish bones.
Using the fork and spoon, carefully peel off the skin from the top side of the fish (if desired) and set it on the refuse platter. Using the side of the spoon, make a lengthwise cut down the back of the fish, just above the backbone. Gently ease the spoon into the cut, loosening the fish from the bones along the entire side of the fish frame. Using the spoon and fork, transfer the top half of the fish to the side of the platter.
Now, using the side of the spoon, make a lengthwise cut down the back of the fish, just below the backbone. Slide the spoon under the backbone. Using the spoon and fork, lift the backbone, frame, and head and transfer them to the refuse platter.
Carefully lift the bottom section of the fish and turn over peel off and discard the skin (if desired). Don’t worry if the fish breaks into large pieces. Just cover the breaks with strategically placed lemon slices. Cut the fillets into individual portions and transfer to your guests’ plates.
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