A fillet knife also called a filleting knife is a kitchen knife used for filleting or slicing fish, chicken and meats to obtain boneless pieces. In itself filleting entails separation from meat from bones and skin and the subsequent slicing of the meat. The knife is synonymous with filleting fish where it achieves great effectiveness. Its blades have lengths ranging from 15 cm to 28 cm and this gives them great movement between bones. Unlike boning knife, the fillet knife is more flexible. It is thinner and allows for precise cutting especially for delicate meats like fish. When used on fish, the knife’s shape and thinness allow for better manoeuvrability when removing skin as well as when slicing over the backbone. The knife’s narrowing at the ends allows it to evenly cut meat from difficult places such as joints.
The fillet knife offers great control to slice through meat and fish. It allows the user to puncture the skin of fish and move the knife about with ease. The effective usage is made possible by the following key specifications. An extremely sharp blade bearing a fine point enables piercing. Thin blades with standard lengths 4”, 6”, 7.5” and 9” have been modeled to ease filleting depending on the size of the fish or meat. A small blade fits a small fish best. The 6 inch knife is ideal for cutting panfish such as bluegills, perch and crappie. A bass and a small trout are best handled using a 7.5 inch blade while larger fish such as pike and salmon are best filleted using a 9 inch blade. Fillet knives often come as sets of 3 or 4 allowing you to have knives of varying blades for all your filleting needs. When purchasing just one fillet knife, it is advisable to go for the 7.5” which seems ideal for both big and small fish.
Although some cooks use the boning and fillet knives for the same purposes, there is the risk of either knife slipping and cutting the user due to usage of more force than necessary. The effectiveness of obtaining fillets from bones is compromised with more meat being left on the bones when other knives are used.
Although primarily used for filleting fish, the fillet knife has found a variety of other uses all drawing from its deft flexibility, sharpness and thinness. The first use is in trimming fat and scaling. It can also be used to remove the webbing of silver skin from small animals such as rabbits and game birds such as quail. The fillet knife can be used in segmenting citrus fruits. It can remove rind, pith and the membrane of citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits. In addition, the knife can prepare fruits and vegetables effectively. The knife can also work on beets, potatoes and similarly shaped foods. Owing to its flexibility and thinness, the fillet knife can shape decorative shapes on carrots, radishes and apples.
Whether one is a professional cook or a housewife, it is necessary to have a variety of knives including filleting knives in your cutlery because of their efficiency in filleting and other cutting needs.