Preparing fish at home can be a rewarding experience, but many are doing it wrong. One of the most common mistakes? Using the wrong cutting board. Knowing how to find the best fish cutting board can make your task easier and reduce contamination risks.
One thing’s for sure: many Americans are getting back to trying their hand at cooking from home. A spike in May 2020 is undoubtedly due to the influx of pandemic-related lockdowns. But, while that peak is unmatched, 2022 proves the trend has staying power.
According to a recent survey, more than 93 percent of Americans cook at least once per week, and around 39 percent three to five times a week. At the same time, many Americans remain uninterested in cooking. Just 10 percent report to love cooking, 45 percent dislike it, and 45 percent are ambivalent about cooking.
Of course, you don’t have to love cooking to do it properly. But when preparing something new or challenging, not knowing proper steps can lead to problems. At the very least, using improper materials can make a task more arduous than it needs to be.
Preparing fish can be challenging– but the numerous benefits, nutritionally and flavor-wise– are well-worth it. But if you’re going to prepare fish, make sure you have what you need. Here’s your quick guide to preparing fish and how to find the best fish cutting board, whether you love cooking or hate it.
How do you prepare fish before cooking?
First, I want to discuss sanitizing fish and marinade. Both have many myths that can harm your result.
Should you wash fish before cooking?
One misnomer is that washing fish before cooking can reduce the risk of bacteria spreading. If anything, washing fish can increase your chances of food poisoning. You can’t wash away everything in the sink, and you’re risking contaminating your sink instead. And, if cooked properly, heat is a far more effective way to reduce the risks of illness.
Is it bad to marinate fish in lemon juice?
I love lemon and citrus on my seafood, so I understand why marinating with a lemon base is tempting. Interestingly, acidic anything marinade can halfway cook your fish as it’s marinating. So if you do plan on a lemon or citrus base, it should be a quick (a few minutes) marinate and then the dish needs to be directly cooked.
Can you Soak fish in vinegar?
Vinegar is also acidic, so this too should be a “quick” marinade. Combine ¼ cup vinegar with lemon juice and water and soak the fish immediately before cooking. If you’re baking the fish whole, an oiled cheesecloth works to help the skin and full body soak it up.
What are the types of fish cuts?
While you can buy fish prepared in filets, many prefer to buy whole fish. The benefits of a whole fish for a better value (you aren’t paying for prep work) and to reduce food waste. You can even use fish heads to make stew. A whole fish tends to stay more flavorful for longer, and may even be richer in nutrients. But it’s up to you and your comfort level what makes the most sense for you.
The most common type of fish cuts includes steak cuts (bone-in, for flatfishes like flounder); top back loin (boneless, belly, for fish like tuna); filets (bones are usually removed and flesh is sliced parallel to the spring), steaks, and cutlets.
Do you cook fish with them head-on?
If you do opt for a whole fish, you or the butcher will need to scale and gut the fish, as well as remove the gills. The head and tail should remain on. This is done not only for presentation purposes but can even create more flavor and add moisture to your dish. You can also make a fish head curry or fish head coconut cream soup.
What fish is the best for cutting?
Almost any fish can be cut. However, some of the easiest, most accessible types of fish to cut include salmon, cod, trout, flounder, tilapia, pollock, haddock, and snapper. Ahi tuna (my favorite) is a little trickier due to its tar preparation and thick, steak-like composition. I recommend taking a course before attempting to prepare ahi or any raw or semi-raw dishes.
How do you cut raw fish?
No matter what cut you decide on, there’s a process that works for most fish. After you have a filet, place it flat on your board, with the skin facing down. Secure the tail and make an incision between the skin and the flesh. Your knife should be angled towards the skin, away from you, and you should keep your incisions straight. Curl your thumbs under to protect your hands. You should also wear gloves as you cut. Normally, fish is cut across the grain.
How do you find a good cutting board for fish?
Of course, to prepare your fish, you’ll need a good surface to cut on. Butcher blocks are not recommended for raw meat or fish. And not all cutting boards are created equal when it comes to fish. Here’s what to look for before purchasing a cutting board for your fish.
Can you put raw fish on a wood cutting board?
Wood is the common cutting board type, and for good reason. Woodcutting boards tend to be stylish and durable. But there’s a good deal of disagreement about using wood boards for raw fish. Most experts still recommend against it. While a few now point to wood’s antimicrobial properties, the issue is that wood tends to soak in odors and other materials. It also is more likely to stain and harder to clean. As a whole, I’d recommend against wood boards for most people preparing fish.
How much should I spend on a cutting board for fish?
Cutting boards can be as much as a few hundred dollars for professional, genuine wood, and as little as under $10. I’d recommend spending $10 to $50, but it depends on how often you’ll be cutting fish and what you’re looking for. Keep in mind that your fish cutting board should be for just that– fish.
What size cutting board sells the most?
Two of the most popular cutting board sizes include 14” by 16” and 16” by 18”. To determine what size you need, think about your knife. At a minimum, there should be an inch wiggle room on both sides when the knife is placed diagonally. Of course, the idea is that a whole fish can fit on your cutting board– if you plan on working with whole fish.
What cutting board should I use for fish?
The best materials for cutting fish include food-safe plastic, tempered glass, and stainless steel.
Fish Cutting Boards: My Picks
Food Safe Plastic Cutting Boards
Food-safe plastic boards don’t last the longest, and they risk being flimsy. Affordable and dishwater safe, plastic cutting boards, however, are easy to sanitize and work well for cutting fish. While they do need to be replaced often, there is less risk of contamination, and they may be a good solution if you need something in a pinch. Of course, some plastic cutting boards are superior to others for cutting fish.
Your Choice Products Plastic Kitchen Small Edged Contoured Cutting Board
If you’re looking for a basic cutting board for fillets or smaller fish species, look no further. This plastic cutting board is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, and reversible. The plastic is non-porous and won’t absorb odors or bacteria. It’s also designed to be gentle on knives and features contoured edges for great control over your cutting. Priced at $16.45; Buy Here.
OXO Outdoor Steady Surface Cutting Board
Designed for campers in mind, you can prepare and cut freshly caught fish with this cutting board. Useful for outdoors and inside, the Thai plastic board is BPA-free, non-porous, and won’t absorb odors or bacteria. I love the nonslip grips– perfect for prep anywhere you are– and the built-in catcher to reduce messes. Priced at $12.95; Buy Here.
3 Piece BPA Free Plastic Cutting Boards
Not sure what size cutting board you need? This three-piece set means you won’t have to decide. Now on sale for $24.99, this three-piece set features BPA-free plastic cutting boards in three sizes with an attractive marble-like pattern. Dishwasher safe, these boards feature non-slip edges to keep you safe. I also love the deep edge grooves, designed to catch meat and fish juices. Buy Here.
Glass Cutting Boards
Tempered glass is a more elegant cutting board for fish. Many simply love its decorative look– and you can buy in a myriad of styles, including beautiful patterns. Glass cut boards are superior for resisting stains and are still easy to sanitize. They are durable if not dropped, but they also, like plastic, should not be near heat– though many tempered glass options are heat resistant. The biggest downside is that cutting fish on glass can wear down your knives more quickly than other materials.
CounterArt Tempered Glass Saver Cutting Board
This cutting board is made out of quality tempered glass and is dishwasher safe. The marble hue is decorative, while the tempered glass materials are sanitary and heat resistant. Besides the style, I also like the rubber, non-slip grips for cutting fish. Easy to clean, pleasing to the eye, and even a little decorative, this cutting board is made in the United States. Retails for $19.45; Buy Here.
Counter Clear Tempered Glass Instant Counter Cutting Board
Ranked number one out of 72 currently featured cutting boards on Overstock, this tempered glass cutting board is an excellent choice for cutting fish. The clear glass is versatile and easy to clean, with four heat-resistant silicone grips. The raised surface is practical and can even be used over sinks. Priced at $29.99; Buy Here.
Home Decor & Kitchen Tempered Glass Shatter-Resistant Cutting Board
For all the possible cons of glass cutting boards, this option takes care of most of them. Aside from making your knives a little dull, this glass board checks the boxes. Shatter-resistant, dishwasher safe, and scratch and heat resistant, the glass cutting board works well for cutting fish, no matter how hectic life gets. While this doesn’t have any grips or a raised platform, it’s a practical cutting board that you can easily store away. Priced at $32; Buy Here.
Stainless Steel Cutting Boards
304 (food safe) stainless steel cutting boards work well for fish. They’re durable and easy to clean and provide a sleek, modern look. Pricier than plastic, they’ll also last a lot longer, and they’re far more resistant to heat and everyday wear. In fact., this is the most hygienic choice for fish– and won’t retain those fishy odors. These also tend to come with more generous sizing options. However, as is the case with tempered glass, cutting on stainless steel will make your knives dull far more quickly than cutting on plastic.
DUMMKZMC, Extra Large Stainless Steel Chopping Board
Need a large, sturdy space to work on? This durable stainless steel chopping board is ideal for preparing fish for a party. The board is dishwasher safe, available in three sizes, and designed to be gentler on knives. The thicker construction means heat transfers less quickly and a ridged edge means less dripping and mess. The design fits seamlessly on a countertop when not in use. Priced at $38.88 through $72.69; Buy Here.
Stainless Steel Cutting Board for Kitchen, Super Slim Cutting Board Dishwasher Safe
Don’t have much room for storage? Though a generous size, the slim construction is lightweight and can be tucked away or even hung up. The stainless steel is designed to be durable, food-safe, and easy to clean. Your purchase also includes a non-slip mat and a lifetime warranty. Safe to place in the dishwasher and made for everyday use. Priced at $20.99; Buy Here.
Kingsman Hardware Kingsman 19.75 -in Extra Large 304 Heavy Duty Stainless Steel
This heavy-duty stainless steel cutting board is ready to handle even your most difficult fish-cutting tasks. This board is easy to clean and odor and bacteria-resistant. The softer stainless steel is designed to reduce the impact on knives, so you won’t need to sharpen them as often. Your package also comes with a silicone grip pad so your board won’t slip as you make incisions. Available in three sizes and priced from $65.75; Buy Here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: To sanitize a wood cutting board, prepare a mixture of water and three parts hydrogen peroxide. You can also spray white vinegar. Spray the board completely, allow it to soak for a few minutes, and then start tackling remaining stains or odors. Often baking soda and lemon can help complete the process. Avoid cutting raw meat or seafood on wood cutting boards if at all possible.
Answer: Bleach-based cleaning wipes, including both Clorox and Lysol, may be used on cutting boards, but you’ll need to rinse the cutting boards again before using them. I recommend using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide before using bleach products. No matter what, make sure you follow the directions on the label.
Answer: First of all, consider leaving the skin on as you bake: skin is considered a delicacy in itself, and can help the fish retain moisture. But if you want the skin off, use a thin blade and set your fish flat on a cutting board. Grab the tail and make an incision through the flesh at the tail end. Continue to make incisions as straight as possible. Hold the fish tight and continue as you loosen the skin and eventually separate it.
Finding the best fish cutting board can make preparation easier and cleaner. Of course, there is no one perfect cutting board– and each kind certainly has its pros and cons. No matter what kind of cutting board you select, make sure you follow food safety guidelines and have a great knife for cutting fish.
Also, keep in mind that all fish have different optimal methods of preparation. Some fish are best-baked whole, some do well pan-fried, and others can even be used in stews. Asking your local grocery store or seafood specialty store for preparation tips can go a long way in optimizing preparation, flavor, and overall enjoyment.
You can’t go wrong with serving fish with wide citrus on the side and light seasoning. Most fish pair well with rice and vegetables, but get adventurous by trying new cuisines. From typical American fare to Asian, Italian, French, Spanish, and more– there’s a lot to try.
You never know what you might discover. Get cooking with these 20 Simple Fish Recipes. You can also get more adventurous and prepare for company by trying these 103 Best Fish Recipes, which include ideas for salmon, sea bass, cod, and more popular fish types.
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