How to Butterfly Sardines

Sardines can be real little blighters if you don't know what you're doing. Luckily this how to guide shows you just how simple it is to debone and butterfly them.

1. Take the head off the sardine by slicing down behind each of its gills with a sharp knife.

2. Using scissors or a knife, cut along the belly from head to tail. If your sardine hasn't been gutted scoop out the gloop with your finger.

3. Turn the fish flesh-side down on the board. Press down firmly with your thumb all the way along to the tail, flattening it down onto the board.

4. Turn the fish back over and lift the backbone away from the flesh. Use the tip of your knife if you need to. Pull the bone gently away from the flesh. You’re aiming to get it out with all the little bones still attached.

5. Get rid of any fine bones with some tweezers or by scraping gently over the flesh with a knife. Use a knife to neaten the edges too.

6. Repeat the steps for each sardine and you're ready to go.

Chef’s tip: If you want single fillets just cut off the tail and slice the butterflied fillets into two.

Check out this delicious Sardines recipe as featured on Cookery School.

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