Now that you have located sheepshead and mastered hooking them, it’s time to clean and cook them. Sheepshead are delicious fish, but they have a tough skin and a lot of bones, so you need to know how to clean them properly.
How to clean sheepshead:
– First, you need a sharp knife and a pair of pliers. Cut off the head and tail of the fish, and make a slit along the belly from the anus to the gills.
– Next, remove the guts and rinse the fish well. You can also scrape off the scales with your knife or a spoon, but some people prefer to leave them on for extra crunchiness.
– Then, cut along the backbone from the head end to the tail end, and separate the two fillets from the bones. You can also cut off the rib cage and any other bones you see with your knife or pliers.
– Finally, rinse the fillets again and pat them dry with paper towels. You can either cook them whole or cut them into smaller pieces.
Three ways to prepare them for the table:
– One way to cook sheepshead is to bake them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease a baking dish. Season the fillets with salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, butter, and parsley. Place them in the baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until flaky.
– Another way to cook sheepshead is to fry them in a skillet. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat the fillets with flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and paprika. Fry them for about 4 minutes per side or until golden and crisp.
– A third way to cook sheepshead is to grill them over charcoal. Light some charcoal briquettes and let them burn until they are covered with ash. Brush the fillets with oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. Place them on a grill rack and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, or until charred and tender.