Garfish are one of the sweetest tasting fish in the sea.
Unfortunately they are also full of fine bones and can be very ‘fiddley’ to prepare for the table. Here’s one of the easier methods for cleaning gars that deals with all those fine bones while maximizing the flesh on the fillets.
One item you can do away with when preparing garfish is a scaler. Anyone who’s caught a gar will know that the scales start flying off as soon as you grab them to remove the hook. To completely scale a garfish in a few seconds just run your thumb nail against the grain of the scales, that is from tail to head, along the length of the body half a dozen times or so and all the scales will be removed.
Next, run the edge of a very sharp flexible filleting knife from the anal fin right up to the head along the stomach cavity.
Remove the entrails then wipe the inside of the stomach cavity with some paper towel. The stomach cavity is covered in greyish-black film along the inside of the fillet, but the paper towel will make short work of this, cleaning up the inside of the fillet nicely.
Then with the fillet knife, cut this time from the anal fin right down to the base of the tail. Don’t cut right through to the other side! You only want the cut to go as deep as the spine, the same as when you did when opening the stomach cavity. The garfish should now be literally sliced right down the middle.
Next, just bend the head backwards and it will snap straight off, then with the fillet knife cut off the base of the tail.
Now all you are left with is the main carcass of the garfish, cut from top to bottom without a tail or a head. Place the back of the garfish on the cleaning board, then using a rolling pin; gently roll back and forth, butter flying the two fillets.
Once this is done the back bone can be gently pulled out, starting at head end of the fish and working down to the tail end. Any bones that remain in the fillet will have been crushed with the rolling pin, and by the time the fillets cook they’ll be barely noticeable.
Cut away any small fins like the pectoral fins and that’s it! Butterflied garfish fillets with ‘most’ of the bones removed and ready for the pan.Reads: 19811