Fish Unit

Doing a unit on fish and seafood can be expensive. However, I had the privileged of working at a high school with a fish market adjacent to the school. We took a walking field trip to the fish market for a demonstration of how to select and cook fish. This was an awesome opportunity for students and helped mitigate the costs to the culinary department. France 2011 164


  • 8.5.5 Prepare various meats, seafood, and poultry using safe handling and professional preparation techniques.


  • Ask students to talk about which types of fish they have eaten and which ones they like and why.


  • Fillet knife


When butchering fish, there are really only three different ways to cut:

  • “up and over” (used for cutting fish with hard bones, it involves cutting along and then next to the backbone and then over the rib cage)
  • “straight cut” (used for cutting fish with soft bones, it involves cutting through the pin bones and through the rib cage which is removed afterwards)
  • “flat cut” (used for cutting flat fish, you cut down the backbone and then over the other bones in a flat motion).

If you are comfortable with those cutting methods you can cut almost any fish, but what is difficult is how delicate the flesh is.



  • Day 1: Guest Speaker from local fish market or Whole Foods
    • Explain the classification of fish and shellfish.
    • Show how to select fresh fish and shellfish.
    • Explain how to handle and store fresh fish and shellfish.
    • Eviscerate, clean, skin, and fillet fish.
    • Prepare a variety of fish cuts.
    • Clean and prepare shellfish for cooking.
  • Day 2: Basic broiled fish lab (demo if you can’t afford to have whole class make it)
  • Day 3: Grilled Salmon lab (demo if you can’t afford to have whole class make it)


  • Controversies in Fish (Farmed vs. Wild Caught)
    • Have students answer the question, “Which is better for you: farm raised or wild caught fish?” You can have them answer this question in the form of a presentation, poster, paper, etc.
    • Have students work on this project as time allows on days 1,2,3 above.


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1 comment for “Fish Unit

  1. Crab Dynasty
    February 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    Thank you for showing how to properly fillet a fish. It does require some skill to avoid meat being left behind. The more often you do it, the better one gets. Flounder is especially difficult because the fillets are so thin.

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