Fillet knives are one of the most important knives in your kitchen arsenal. They range in length from 4 to 9 inches and provide a great tool for preparing poultry, beef, pork, and of course fish. There are some tips and guidelines to follow when choosing a fillet knife to ensure you find the right knife for you.
First, look for corrosion-resistant stainless steel; Not all stainless steel is corrosion resistant. Yes, stainless steel is stainless but not stain proof. This will make the knife a bit more expensive to buy, but it will also increase the life expectancy of the knife and provide a better edge over time; look for a carbon steel blade as they tend to outlast other materials and have great durability.
Next, you’ll need to determine what you’re going to fillet; this determines the size of the blade needed. If you’re a novice or beginner chef, choose a versatile length of around 6 or 7 inches. For those of us who are more experienced in using cleavers and filleting knives, choose the length that best suits your task. Small cuts of fish and tenderloin can be achieved by using a smaller 5-inch blade; large filet mignons will need a longer blade as they are thicker and will provide a good weight to cut through thick meat. Ultimately, the decision must be applied to your needs.
While length is important, the blade must be flexible, since filleting requires a thin and often narrow cut. Steaks are perhaps the most artistic cuts found in the kitchen and the flexible blade helps ensure their presentation qualities. This is quite simple; the thinner the sheet, the more flexible it is. Keep in mind that thinner blades are also more prone to bending if you’re cutting foods like beef, pork, and game like venison.
The knife handle should be comfortable and easy to grip. Typical or average blades have an inert wooden or plastic handle which is good for lessening the weight of the knife. These materials are also more likely to become slippery when wet and can cause a knife to slip. Rubber handles, most often found on fish fillet knives, are great at reducing slippage. Remember that the sheet, above all, must be comfortable for you; a carver using an uncomfortable blade is a recipe for an accident.