Filleting a whole salmon can be an intimidating experience, even for experienced cooks. Not knowing where to cut for proper fillets or how to remove the bones can make the process frustrating and stressful. Intimidating though it may be, the preparation of a whole salmon is actually a relatively straightforward task. While the process is not technically difficult, it is labour intensive, as you must remove each pin bone individually to fully debone the fillets.
Align your knife perpendicular to the length of the fish and just behind the gills. Slide the knife in until you reach the back bone.
Move your knife to the top of the incision site and slide it along the spine with a sawing motion. Lift the fillet as you slide the knife and repeat the front to back slicing until the fillet comes free. Repeat on the opposite side of the fish to remove the other fillet.
Locate and cut away the fatty portion of belly meat at the bottom of the fillet. Discard it.
Separate the skin from the fillet at one corner, then slide your knife along that skin through the length of the fillet. Discard the skin.
Slide your hand across the top of the fillet to located the row of pin bones. Take a pair of clean pliers and pull out and discard each pin bone.