I am in Montreal and the Portuguese community here has a few grocery stores; Portuguese frozen fish is also for sale in quite a few places. It's very inexpensive and I think I now know why. I bought a kilo of redfish (with some research I think it's most commonly called ocean perch*).

It's described as bland fish and apparently best to cook in a sauce, but the steaks still have scales on them! I hate scaling, and during scaling the scales get all over the meat, I can't see them and after adding butter and orange juice and poaching the fish in the oven, they made it to the final dish and the sauce.

Obviously, the fish with scales is best to cook whole, but I have the steaks. Any advice on how to cook them unscaled and still use seasoning/sauce?

[*edit] apparently also known as rockfish

  • 1
    Personally, if I were going to use them in a sauce I would go ahead and remove the skin and with it the scales. If I were going to do something like grill it, then I would likely leave the skin, with scales and then remove it after cooking. Poaching is a bit more problematic because skin is nice to help the steak hold up through cooking, but I would tend to lean toward removing skin and taking my chances that it might flake apart.
    – dlb
    Aug 2, 2017 at 20:43
  • Great ideas. Fry with skin on, or poach with skin off. I'll just put the sauce on AFTER frying.
    – Natalia
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:04

2 Answers 2


Assuming you're cooking the the fish in a sauce, cut the meat away from the skin, liberally (it sounds like you really don't like the scales). Put what remains of the skin in cheese cloth (like a bouquet garni) to get the flavor out of them. The cloth should keep the scales out. You may need to layer the cheesecloth. You can remove it toward the end of cooking.

  • Thank you! The best way to remove skin is to do while the fish is still semi--frozen, right?
    – Natalia
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:04
  • 3
    @Natalia partial freezing is a common technique used to help cut meat very thin. It should help you more precisely cut the skin off.
    – Wolfgang
    Aug 2, 2017 at 21:35
  • You could try peeling the skin off if it's partially frozen as well, there's less mess that way if it works.
    – GdD
    Aug 3, 2017 at 7:44

First cook them flesh side down on a grill. Then finish cooking skin side down. Have the sause as a side dish to dip them in.

  • Fish steaks don't have a skin-down side.
    – Wolfgang
    Aug 3, 2017 at 20:07
  • @Wolfgang Of course they do if the OP says they have scales and need descaling.
    – user34961
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:43
  • 4
    A fish steak is cut perpindicular to the spine of the fish. Top and bottom have flesh, skin is along the edge. Contrast with filet, here:en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fish_steak
    – Wolfgang
    Aug 4, 2017 at 8:55

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