There is something so elemental about gathering friends and family around a beautifully fried whole fish and going at it with chopsticks. We like to use sea bass, but you can also use red snapper, flounder, striped bass or a small grouper. The trick is making cuts into the fish’s body beforehand so you can easily pick the flesh off. This is how that is done.

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Reprinted with permission from Japanese Soul Cooking

1. Lay the fish flat on a cutting board.


2. Cut along the spine from head to tail.


3. Cut along the belly from head to tail.


4. Make two more cuts along the center of the fish.


5. Cut diagonal notches from the top fin to the belly.


6. The cuts should be on an angle and reach to the bone.


7. The fish is ready for deep-frying.